Friday, January 6, 2012

How about Pongal kolam fest ?

Sunil (D-Block) has posted this item.
I have a thought about how good it would be if we could hold a pongal kolam festival in Mantri Synergy. Kolam drawn by residents on walkway at the central park around the fountain or on the driveway can be judged by an in-house panel for awards. Some Kolam designs are simple, white, geometric patterns, covering little space,while others are large, elaborate works of art, incorporating many colors and portraying devotional themes.
Insects and birds feed on the rice flour used for drawing the traditional Kolam at the entrance of houses.In this sense,the Kolam represents human concern for all living creatures.Kolam, with bright red border or kaavi is believed to prevent evil and undesirable elements from entering the houses.
On Pongal Day family members jointly draw the kolam with rice flour that can be plain as well as colored. Parallel straight lines can be drawn using a cylindrical rod (Ulakai).
The kolam defines the sacred area where the Pongal is prepared. Within the perimeters of kolam, typically, firewood is used to cook the rice. The Pongal pot is set up in the direct view of the Sun (East). Traditionally, the kolam is laid in the front or side of the house.
Inspite of urbanization,the traditions and customs attached to the harvest festival of Pongal has not diminished.Though the nature of these tradition and customs have changed,the glitter of this festival has not dimmed.
Pongal is still treated as a time to discard the old and welcome the new. The new crop that is harvested is cooked and offered to the Almighty. Celebrated for four days, the various traditions and customs of this harvest festival are:
Bhogi Pongal
The first day of Pongal is a day for family gathering and is dedicated to Lord Indra. Offerings are made to the God of rain so that the Lord blesses us for the plentiful harvest.It is also the beginning of the New Year, according to the Malayalam calendar.
A huge bonfire of discarded things is lit, to the beat of drums made of buffalo-hide, known as 'Bhogi Kottus'.The houses are cleaned and decorated with Kolam using rice four. Yellow pumpkin flowers are set in cow-dung balls in the middle of kolam drawn outside the front door.
Surya Pongal
The second day,'Surya Pongal',is dedicated to the Sun God.The granaries are kept full on this day and Sun God with his rays are painted on a plank as he is worshiped with the birth of the new auspicious month of Thai.
Since the word 'Ponga' means 'to boil' representing plentiful and excess yield, a special dish is cooked on this day in a new mud-pot. The dish is called 'Sarkkarai Pongal' and is offered to Sun God with sugarcane sticks. It is said that Lord Sundareshwar performed a miracle on this day in the Madurai temple and breathed life into a stone elephant that ate sugarcanes. One can see the depiction of the event in the Meenakshi temple.
Mattu Pongal
The third day, 'Mattu Pongal',is dedicated to the livestock. Cows and bulls, with their horns painted in bright colours, are fed 'Pongal'. Cattle races are conducted and in the game called 'Manji Virattu' groups of young men chase running bulls. Bull fights called 'Jallikattu' are also arranged at some places where young men have to take the money bags tied to the horns of ferocious bulls single-handedly and without the use of arms.
Lord Ganesha and Goddess Parvati are also worshiped on this day. At some other places, this day is celebrated as Kanu Pongal when girls feed colored balls of cooked rice to the birds and crows and pray for their brothers' happiness and that they always remember them.
Kaanum Pongal
On the fourth day people visit friends and relatives. Younger members of the family pay homage to the elders.

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