15 Jan 2011

Pongal.....Words and Klicks

This is my visual take of traditional pongal but first a few words about Pongal.

The first day of thai maadham [according to the tamil calender] is celebrated as pongal. This festival has been there from Sanga Kaalam. Then it was known as "Thai Neeraadal"/" Paavai nonbhu".


Boghi means "Indiran": celebrated for Lord Indiran
Pongal : celebrated for the Sun god.
Maatu Pongal: thanksgiving day for the cows.
Kanum Pandigai: Strengthening of brotherly love among siblings.


        In the month of December, kolams decorate the front entrance of every household. In the middle of the kolam, cowdung is shaped in the form of a ball along with the flower of the pumpkin plant. This is to denote that Lord Ganesha blesses the household all year long. In the villages people believe Goddess Thirumagal will come to stay in their household.


This cowdung ball is pasted onto the wall to make it into a flat disc. These discs collected the whole of December and used to fire the brick stove for making pongal on the festive day.

Why do we have three blocks for the make shift stove for making pongal.....
     
Three stones denote -Mind, Word and Spirit of a person. A man with the help of these three virtues will enable the Divinity [denoted by the overflowing milk] in himself which will in turn help him attain Moksha.



Milk and rice denote: Prosperity
Sugarcane: Happiness.
Tumeric:Pious nature.


Neighbours ask each other "Pongal pongucha......nallaa pongucha". The water used to wash the rice is poured on to the fields as it is believed to keep the soil well nourished.

In the villages, the backyard of each household has a variety of vegetables grown to full bloom like pumpkin, banana, brinjal and avarai. A special dish called "Vaasal Kari" is prepared which has around seven different types of vegetables in it . This served as side dish for the venpongal.


In Coimbatore [kongu region] there is a tradition called  "Kaapu Katudhal". On the day of Boghi the whole household is cleaned. In the evening leaves of the neem, mango tree and aavaarampoo are tied in small bunches and tied around the home including the cowshed. People believe that good angels reside in the household all year long.


The next day of pongal, the younger generation falls at the feet of the elders who inturn bless them saying "Thaayodum, thanthaiyodum, seerodum, sirappodum, paerodum, pugazhodum, oorodum, uravodum, maadodum, kanrodum, aayulodum, aasiyodum, pirapodum nallaa irukkanum" and apply the tumeric streak on their foreheads..


Kanu Pidi: On the day after the pongal, after getting the blessings of the elders, the front of the household is decorated with kolams. The rice made the previous day is divided into three portions and made into three balls:  Yellow ball [rice mixed with tumeric], Red ball[rice mixed with kumkum] and the third is kept as such. This is kept along with sakkarai pongal, tumeric, sugarcane and the family members gather around and pray for long lasting prosperity.

In the region of Thirunelveli "Idi Sambhar" is prepared using vegetables and dhal in a earthen pot and pongal is prepared with red sambha rice.The combination is supposed to be excellent.


Siruveetu Pongal: This is celebrated by the school going girls especialy in the village side on the sunday after the actual pongal festival. The cowdung disks are collected in the month of December by the young girls. Getting up early in the morning to make the cowdung balls and decorating them with pumpkin flowers helps them to breath fresh unpolluted air.  The girls make a small house using clay and decorate it with kolams and flowers. The next day pongal is made in a make shift stove in front of this small house and distributed to all the family members.


 All the girls gather together and decorate their hair with flowers, wear silk skirts and blouses. They walk towards the river with the cowdung discs and leave them to float in the river. A camphor is lit in the last cowdung disc and as it goes along with the river flow, the girls pray that all the sorrow and hardships in life melt away like the cowdung discs.


They return home and play together through the evening. When they enter the house a lit camphor placed on a plate is shown in front of them [Aarathi eduthal] and some money is given to them as a reward..
     
The importance of this practice: to impart unity, energy, patience, being active and creativity among the younger generation.
 

Lastly
              Puthiya paanai...puthiya adupu...
              Puthiya nearuppu... puthiya arisi...!
              Pandigai Pazhamaithaan!
              Padaippugalo puthumaithaan!
              Puthumaikkum poobaalam paaduginra
              Pongalinai malar thoovi varavaerpoom
              Magzhivodu siragadipom


Meaning: The pot, stove, fire and rice are new but the festival is old. "Pongal" sings a new hymn for a new dawn...lets us welcome this pongal with flowers and spread our wings with happiness.

This is not the exact translation for the poem but comes close.
Thanks: "Mangaiyar Malar" Jan edition. All these information was new to me and I wanted to share it with everyone.


My blogging buddies: Srivalli , Veena , Priya Suresh , Monika , PJ Priya Vaasu , Azeema , Jay , Ayeesha , Soumya .....do check them out

Enjoy.....

Scribbled by Reva

21 comments:

? said...

Composition looks very retro!
Looks like you had a good celebration!

Priya said...

Wow,such an informative and beautiful post, excellent clicks..

Sayantani said...

that s a very beautiful an informative post. am amazed to see how different parts of India celebrate almost same festival. in Bengal we celebrate Poush Sankranti or harvest festival.and make desserts with freshly harvested paddy and other seasonal bounties.

savitha ramesh said...

Wonderful post abt pongal.Kalakareenga......kudos

simply.food said...

Lovely and interesting info on the festival and the clicks are awesome.

Torviewtoronto said...

lovely pictures happy pongal

Uma said...

Hi Reva!
ur blog has beautiful photos..
Happy Sankranti to you and your family!
ur daughter is too cute :)
if you dont mind, please increase the font size ..

Swathi said...

Nice informative post, love the write up. Thanks for visiting my blog, you have nice space too.

Soumya said...

very informative post....thanks a lot for sharing...

asiya omar said...

good post.love it.

Gayathri's Cook Spot said...

Nice informative post. That small pot looks so cute with the cane pieces..

Reva said...

Thankyou guys...
Uma...sorry about the font size and I have increased the font size...thanks for visiting my blog...
Reva

mahavijay said...

beautiful and very informative post Reva..

PriyaVaasu said...

Very Informative Post Reva!!! Awesome Clicks!!! Love that Small Pot!!!!

Sharmilee! :) said...

Wow lovely clicks

Padhu said...

Very informative post and nice pictures

Varunavi said...

Wonderful post and very informative.Superby clicks,loved them

Pavithra said...

Absolutely love ur pictures and post..hope i am here for the first time..loved ur space. Keep rocking

Reva said...

thank you guys for your kind words..
Reva

Suchitra said...

gosh, reva- this is the best pongal post ever! wonderful explanation and lovely pics

San said...

That's a nest and a detailed presentation on a wonderful festival pongal. Pics are amazing and colorful dear.

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