Saturday, January 12, 2013

Happy Pongal!

Tomorrow (January 13) is the first day of Pongal, a three-day festival celebrated in Tamilnadu. Pongal, which  means "flow over", is a harvest festival, but celebrated by all Tamilians. The most popular icon of Pongal festival is a cooking pot with sugarcane shoots tied on the sides and brimming over with steaming milk and rice. The overflowing pot is a symbol of auspicious beginnings and is heralded with the banging of metallic plates and spoons (kind of drum roll). I remember doing it when I was little and it was fun. Growing up, Pongal was always fun mainly because of all the wonderful food my mother used to make for three days and no school either. Just eating and playing!

In the countryside it is a big event--the farmers paint and decorate their house, throw away old and unwanted things, buy new clothes, prepare feasts and have country fairs where they bring livestock all spruced up and painted. And everywhere, people celebrate it by making varieties of rice dishes--sweet rice, lemon rice, coconut rice, tamarind rice, yogurt rice--all accompanied by a medley of vegetables. 

Pongal celebrates the transit of Sun into the sign of Capricorn (Thai) and the beginning ofuttaranayana punyakala or the northern ascension of the Sun (its 6-month transit over the northern hemisphere). That is why, the month of Thai  is also celebrated as the season of hope and new beginnings. 


Thanks for visiting. Submitted to Illustration Friday's this week's theme "MYTH".

Artwork by Indira

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