Friday, January 13, 2006

Makaram Shankranti / Pongal

Today is is celebrated as Bhogi in Tamil Nadu or Lohri in many places in North India. Typically celebrated by making bonfires of all things that are waste, old or need to be destroyed, to help start anew the next day on. These days, the Govt has put out notices to reduce this, in a view to avoid pollution because of the bonfire. Most people these days also burn synthetic waste, which is the primary cause for concern.

Tomorrow is the first day of the month of Makaram (or Thai masam for the tamil). Many people celeberate Shankranti as a new year, or as an occasion to begin something new. This marks the begining of the moveThe tamilians specially celeberate this day as Pongal, and closely connected to the land, because it is harvest time. The connection to the harvest is the most common theme across the country, as almost every the winter crop has been harvested and done, and the people need to get ready for the next season.

Pongal means to fill up. On this day, the offerings to the gods used be rice cooked in earthen pots. To show that they had plenty to offer on this day, after a bountiful harvest, the rice was allowed to boil over the cooking pot. For me a malayalee, brought up in Madras, Pongal had only special significance, a must bathe and pray before breakfast order from mom, and plenty of sugar cane to chew and eat.

Happy Pongal or as they say here ... Pongalo Pongal

Tags: pongal, makaram, shankranti, india, festival, hindu

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