Celebrating Pongal in the heart of Little India

Pongal is the most important harvest festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu, a southern state of India, by Hindus. The festival lasts for four days – first with spring cleaning, followed by cooking rice with milk in an open area on the second day, decorating farm animals and visiting relatives on the third and fourth day respectively. The Republican Post reporters Chan Wei Yin and Charmaine Soh headed down to heart of Little India to observe and learn more about the vibrant festival.


LIGHT UP THE NIGHT: Decorated lights lines the streets of Little India in celebration of the Pongal Festival. The festival lights will be up until the 12th of February 2017. PHOTO: Chan Wei Yin
UDDERLY WELL-LOVED: Members of the public were allowed to feed the cows on display at the event tent along Hastings road. In Hinduism, the cow is considered a sacred animal, showing gratitude to the cows who plough the fields and provide milk has always been a part of the Pongal celebration. Some hindus also bought their own food, such as sugar cane cubes to feed the cows. PHOTO: Charmaine Soh
DOLLED UP: During Maatu Pongal, Hindus give thanks to farm cattles, which play vital roles in the agricultural activities. On this day, the cattles are bathed, decorated in garlands, and fed sweet rice. PHOTO: Charmaine Soh
FRESH MILK: To cook the Chakkara Pongal, a sweetened variation of the staple breakfast food in Southern India , cows are milked on the spot to ensure only the freshest ingredients are used. The traditional dish is offered to the Sun God at dawn. PHOTO: Chan Wei Yin
SMOOTH FLOW TO PROSPERITY: On the second day of Pongal, fresh milk is poured into vessels and left to boil, while worshippers wait for the overflowing of milk. When a pot of milk overflows, it is considered an auspicious omen and the crowd will shout, “Pongalo Pongal!” PHOTO: Charmaine Soh
A SWEET PONGAL FESTIVAL: Pongal is celebrated during the auspicious month of Thai (January-February). To mark the celebration, a sweetened dish of rice and milk boiled with lentils also known as Chakkara Pongal, is cooked in earthenware pots and consumed ritually to signify abundance and prosperity. PHOTO: Chan Wei Yin
GIVING THANKS: Fruits are offered to the Gods during Pongal prayers while worshippers hang flower garlands around their necks. PHOTO: Chan Wei Yin
DECORATIONS FOR GOOD LUCK: Rangoli is an art form that has been passed down from many generations. Also known as Kolam, Hindus pour coloured rice or flour to form patterns for decorative purposes. It is believed to bring good luck and is usually made during major festivals related to Hinduism. PHOTO: Chan Wei Yin
RHYTHMIC BEATS: A dholi plays the traditional Indian musical instrument, Dhol, as people dance and clap to the sounds of the bass. In other countries, the patterns and beats of Dhol have even been developed to catalyse the mind of devotees seeking spiritual trance. PHOTO: Charmaine Soh
TRADITIONS REMAIN: Bharatanatyam, performed by one of the dancers from Sirpigal Mandram, a platform for arts showcase, is one of the Indian classical dances that originated in the Hindu temples of Tamil Nadu. PHOTO: Chan Wei Yin