Sunday, 17 January 2010

on the fourth and final day ......

Thiruvalluvar Day / Kanum Pongal

Thiruvalluvar Day Kanum Pogal
Thiruvalluvar Day / Kanum Pogal
The fourth day of the three-day Pongal celebrations is called Kaanum Pongal. In few places this day is also known as Karinaal or Thiruvalluvar Day. It is dedicated to the sun god, Surya and has its roots in ancient Brahminical tradition. Since Pongal is a rural, agrarian based festival that celebrates the harvests, the sun is a vital part of the proceedings. This is because the Sun is the symbol of life on Earth. Without the Sun, crops cannot sprout and grow. Without the Sun, harvests will not be plentiful.

Surya Puja
On Kaanum Pongal, elaborate powdered chalk designs of the sun god, Surya are drawn. As soon as the auspicious month of Thai is underway, Surya is worshiped. Sheaves of sugarcane dot the prayer area. Freshly cooked food including the typical sweet dish 'Sarkarai pongal' is first offered to Surya. Sugarcane that is offered is symbolic for sweetness and happiness in life. Sugarcane stalks and coconut- both auspicious symbols of plenty- are also offered to the Gods in propitiation of a plentiful harvest in the forthcoming year

Customs & Rituals
This day is very similar to Rakhsa Bandhan and Bhai Dhuj in that it is predominantly a festival where women offer prayers for the wellbeing of their brothers. The women perform this ritual before bathing in the morning. All the women, young and old, of the house, assemble in the courtyard. The rice is placed in the centre of the leaf, while the women ask that the house and family of their brothers should prosper. Arati is performed for the brothers with turmeric water, limestone and rice, and this water is sprinkled on the kolam in front of the house.

On this day, people travel to see other family members and the younger members of the family pay homage to the elders, and the elders thank them by giving token money. Another thing many do is leave food out on banana leaves for birds to take. Many South Indian people take the first bit of rice cooked in any given day and set it outside for the crows to take, so this is not necessarily a habit only for Pongal. Some also go to temple to worship and thank god for all good things that are bestowed on them.

DAY ONE is here

DAY TWO is here

DAY THREE is here

The website where I have gathered all of the above information IS HERE.

Today - Sunday January 17 2010 - we went to the Bukit Batok Pongal Festival. We were invited by the Community Centre and were 'special guests'. We felt very honored to be part of this amazing event and my next blog posting will describe it in greater detail along with some - hopefully - amazing photos.


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