Dear Donor/ supporter !
CHHASE, our staff and our community celebrate the “ PONGAL FESTIVAL”. A festival of thanks giving. Due to COVID-19, this year it is Gloomy.
According to tradition, the festival marks the end of winter solstice, and the start of the sun's six-month-long journey northwards when the sun enters the zodiac Makara (Capricorn). The festival is named after the ceremonial "Pongal", which means "to boil, overflow" and refers to the traditional dish prepared from the new harvest of rice boiled in milk with jaggery (raw sugar). To mark the festival, the pongal sweet dish is prepared, first offered to the gods and goddesses (goddess Pongal), followed sometimes with an offering to cows, and then shared by the family. Festive celebrations include decorating cows and their horns, ritual bathing and processions. It is traditionally an occasion for decorating rice-powder based Kolam artworks, offering prayers in the home, temples, getting together with family and friends, and exchanging gifts to renew social bonds of solidarity.
Pongal is one of the most important festivals celebrated by Tamil people in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka,Andhra Pradesh,Telengana and puducherry in India.It is also a major Tamil festival in Srilanka. It is observed by the Tamil diaspora worldwide, including those in Malaysia, Mauritius,South Africa, Singapore,United states,United kingdom and Canada.
The festival's most significant practice is the preparation of the traditional "pongal" dish. It utilizes freshly harvested rice, and is prepared by boiling it in milk and raw cane sugar (jaggery). Sometimes additional ingredients are added to the sweet dish, such as: Cardamom, raisins, Green gram and cashew nuts. Other ingredients include coconut and ghee.
The Pongal festival begins on the day called Bhogi Pongal, and it marks the last day of the Tamil month Marghazi. On this day people discard old belongings and celebrate new possessions. The people assemble and light a bonfire in order to burn the heaps of discards. Houses are cleaned, painted and decorated to give a festive look. The horns of oxen and buffaloes are painted in villages. New clothes are worn to mark the start of the festival. The deity of the day is Indra-the god of rains, to whom prayers are offered, with thanks and hopes for plentiful rains in the year ahead.
Surya Pongal – also called Suryan Pongal or Perum Pongal – is the second and main festive day, and is dedicated to the Hindu god Surya.It is the first day of the Tamil calendar month Tai, and coincides with Makara Sankaranthi- a winter harvest festival celebrated throughout India. The day marks the start of the Uttarayana. When the sun enters the 10th house of the zodiac Makara (Capricorn). The day is celebrated with family and friends, with the Pongal dish prepared in a traditional earthen pot in an open space in the view of the sun. The pot is typically decorated by tying a turmeric plant or flower garland, and near the cooking stove are placed two or more tall fresh sugarcane stalks.
Mattu Pongal is celebrated the day after Surya Pongal. Mattu refers to "cow, bullock, cattle", and Tamil Hindus regard cattle as sources of wealth for providing dairy products, fertilizer, transportation and agricultural aid. On Mattu Pongal, cattle are decorated – sometimes with flower garlands or painted horns, they are offered bananas, a special meal and worshipped. Some decorate their cows with manjalthanni and oil. Shikakai apply kungumam to their foreheads, paint their horns, and feed them a mixture of venn pongal, jaggery, honey, banana and other fruits. Others bathe their cattle and prostrate before them with words of thanks for the help with the harvest.
Kanum Pongal, sometimes called the Kanu Pongal, the fourth day of the festival, marks the end of Pongal festivities for the year. The word kanum (kaanum) in this context means "to visit." Many families hold reunions on this day. Communities organize social events to strengthen mutual bonds. Villagers cut and consume farm fresh sugarcane during social gatherings. Relatives, friends and neighbour’s visit to greet, while youngsters go out to meet seniors among the relatives and neighborhoods to pay respects and seek blessings, while some elders give the visiting children some pocket change as a gift.
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Team CHHASE India.....