Friday, January 22, 2010

Colorful Little India during the Pongal Festival !


Lights were lit up again because of the Pongal Festival!

Glitter, glitter everywhere!

The Indians (Tamils) expressing their thanks during the Pongal Festival!
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Just as BUS 139 was reaching Tekka Market, I realised that Serangoon Road was brightly lit with decorations! I asked some passengers if the people were celebrating Thaipuism but I was told that it was the Pongal Festival. Gosh! I had been living in Little India for the past four years, and this was the first time I
had noticed the street decoration! On reflection, I realised that I had been away from Singapore usually around this time. Once I was in Taiwan, and the rest of the time was spent in Penang, my hometown.

I am always happy when I see the streets brightly lit and filled with a festive air!
I googled to find out more about Pongal.

"Thai Pongal (Tamil: தைப்பொங்கல்) is a harvest festival widely celebrated by Tamils in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in Sri Lanka. Pongal coincides with the festival Makara Sankranthi celebrated throughout India. Pongal in Tamil means "boiling over or spill over." The boiling over of milk in the clay pot symbolizes material abundance for the household.

Thai Pongal, celebrated at harvest time, is traditionally intended to thank the sun god and farmstead livestock that helped create the material abundance.

The saying "Thai Pirandhal Vazhi Pirakkum" (தை பிறந்தால் வழி பிறக்கும்) meaning "the commencement of Thai paves the way for new opportunities" is often quoted regarding the Pongal festival[1] . The festival usually occurs from January 13 — 15 (on the Gregorian calendar) i.e. the last day of the Tamil month Maargazhi to the third day of Thai.

Pongal is traditionally dedicated to the Sun God Surya. Tamils thank the solar deity for the good harvest and dedicate the first grain to him on this 'Surya Mangalya'.

The holiday marks the start of Tamil month Thai (தை). It marks the day when the Sun purportedly shifts northwards. It signifies the commencement of Uttarayana, which means the northward journey of Sun. The days get longer. Thai Pongal falls on Makara Sankranthi celebrated throughout India. This represents the Indic solstice when the sun purportedly enters the 10th house of the zodiac i.e. Makara or Capricorn."

It is always wonderful to have a heart of gratitude. I once met a Muslim businessman who donated all his takings to an orphanage on the opening of his bakery. As Christians, we are also taught to give the first fruits of our offerings to God. Gratitude to God and man always makes a person happy, peaceful and contented because he works hard without unnecessary strife or scheming, making him confident and comfortable in his own skin.

Gan Cao

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