The Many Aspects of Thai Pongal

The Thai Pongal, a harvest competition, is being celebrated from January 14 to 17, with conventional fervor by Tamils in Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia and different nations, regardless of restrictions on gatherings at temples.

In Sri Lanka, Malaysia and different components of the world, Thai Pongal is basically a spiritual, household affair. However in Tamil Nadu, in South India, it’s extra of a social occasion, and has, as well as, a political and ideological dimension.

The Dravidian or Tamil nationalistic events, which have been ruling the State since 1967, have made it a State competition as a result of it’s deemed to be a “Dravidian” “Tamil” and “secular” competition, in contrast to Deepavali and Navarathri that are seen as ‘Sanskritic’ festivals and due to this fact as “impositions”of Aryan Hinduism over Dravidian Tamils.

The Dravidian or Tamil nationalistic events which have been ruling the State since 1967, have made it a State competition as a result of it’s deemed to be a “Dravidian” “Tamil” and “secular” competition, in contrast to Deepavali and Navarathri that are seen as ‘Sanskritic’ festivals and due to this fact as “impositions” of Aryan Hinduism over Dravidian Tamils.

In a means, Thai Pongal is secular as it’s primarily a rural, harvest competition. Nonetheless, Muslims and Christians don’t rejoice it as a result of it has come to contain the worship of Hindu gods and visits to Hindu temples. Because it occurs with each exercise in a conventional society, the secular harvest competition of Thai Pongal has acquired a spiritual shade or a spiritual foundation. The competition was woven into Hindu mythology when the Cholas have been ruling the Coromandel Coast from the 9 th., to the 13 th Century. The Cholas have been instrumental within the Sanskritization of the Tamils.

Nonetheless, the agricultural and agricultural foundation of Thai Pongal stays dominant. Every little thing about Thai Pongal is linked to agriculture, such because the harvesting of paddy. Milk, meals, the cow, the solar and rain are worshiped. The purpose of Thai Pongal is attaining agricultural prosperity. “Pongal” itself means boiling or effervescent overflowing, and that is illustrated by boiling milk combined with jaggery, coconut, cardamom, raisins, inexperienced gram, ghee (clarified butter) and cashew nuts, till the pot overflows.

The resultant sweetmeat known as Sakkarai Pongal (candy Pongal) is then provided to the gods. After rituals carried out by Brahmins (if the venue is a Kovil or temple) it’s distributed among the many worshippers as a “prasadam” (Sanskrit for a gracious reward).

Whereas within the city areas, Thai Pongal is a single day occasion, within the rural areas, the festivities are unfold over three or 4 days. A pooja is carried out on the primary day of Pongal earlier than the reducing of paddy. Farmers worship the solar and the earth by anointing their ploughs and sickles with holy sandalwood paste. It’s with these consecrated instruments that the newly-harvested rice is reduce.

Thai Pongal begins with Bhogi Pongal which is the final day of the Tamil month of Margazhi. On at the present time, individuals discard outdated belongings and substitute them with new ones. New garments are worn. Outdated stuff is consigned to flames joyously. Homes are cleaned, painted and embellished. The horns of oxen and buffaloes are embellished with fancy work in shiny colours.

The deity of Bhogi Pongal day is Indra, the Hindu god of rain. Surya Pongal day is dedicated to the worship of the solar and Kanum Pongal day is reserved for social visits and the institution of recent ties or the renewal of outdated relationships.

Jallikattu, a spectator sport during which younger males attempt to tame a raging bull, is held within the villages round Madurai. An try and ban this sport was met with a State-wide agitation. The ban was lifted subsequently because it was portrayed by Tamil nationalists as being symbolic of Tamil valor and Tamil nationalism.

Though a harvest competition, Pongal is of particular significance to all Tamils as it’s linked with the start of the Tamil month of Thai which is considered the harbinger of fine luck. There’s a saying that with the beginning of Thai, the way in which ahead will open (Thai pirandhaal Vazhi pirakkum). To make finest use of the day, new Tamil movies are launched on Thai Pongal day. Producers and distributors compete to get theaters to begin displaying their new movies on Thai Pongal day. Magazines provide you with particular points to mark the start of Thai.

There are variation of Thai Pongal in different components of India. It’s celebrated as Makar Sankranti, which represents the day on which the Solar enters the zodiac signal of Makara or Capricorn.

All Photos Ajith Perera/Xinhua

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