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Festivals of Malaysia ~ Pongal



Thai Pongal


The four days of Pongal have there own individual significance. Held in

the middle of January, Pongal continues through the first four days of Thai month that starts in the mid-January. The word Pongal literally means "boiling over" and  is celebrated by Hindus to mark the harvesting of the bounteous crops in the fields. 


The houses are cleaned, painted and decorated and Kolam's (ground patterns made out of rice flour) are made in the front yards of the houses.

The day begins with the making of Kolams at the entrance of homes,

as early as possible, in the morning. It is auspicious to draw the Kolams before sunrise so that the sun god can see them and come to bless

the particular household.  

Kolam patterns being drawn with rice flour

Every household, prides itself on making the most exquisite floor drawings outside their homes. These patterns drawn with rice flour, dyed in brilliant hues It is an art handed down from one generation to the other.

Kolams (ground patterns made out of rice flour) generally drawn with rice flour are special to

the occasion. The idea behind using rice flour

is that the insects would feed on it

and bless the household.

 Sweet rice, known as Pongal, is cooked in a new earthenware pot at the same place where puja is to be performed. Fresh turmeric and ginger are tied around this pot. Then a delicious concoction of rice, moong dal, jaggery and milk is boiled in the pot on an open fire.


This Pongal, according to ritual, is allowed to boil and spill out of the pot. Once the Pongal is ready it is tempered with cashew nuts and raisins

fried in ghee. Pongal, once ready, is offered to God first, on a new banana

leaf along with other traditional delicacies like vadas, payasam, etc.

Besides this, sugarcane, grain, sweet potatoes etc. are also

offered to the Sun God.


Pongal, known as Sweet rice, is cooked in a new earthenware pot


All the four days of Pongal have there own individual significance.

On the first day, delicious preparations are made homes are washed and decorated. On this day Bhogi or the Rain God is worshipped.

This is also the day one eagerly looks forward to as it begins with a til (sesame) oil bath leading to huge bonfires where all the unwanted rubbish around the house is consigned to flames and is a time for the new

 to replace the old.


The second day or the day of Surya Pongal, as it is known, is dedicated to the Sun God. This is also the day when the auspicious pot of milk

and rice should boil over. It is on this day that the most important ceremony of the four-day festivities takes place. The astrologers fix an auspicious time, for the preparation of sweet rice. The first dish of

rice pudding is offered to the Sun God.


The following day is known as Mattu Pongal or the Pongal of the cow -

a day dedicated to the revered cow. The fourth day of Pongal also holds special importance. This is the day when the bond between friends and relatives are re-strengthened by visiting their homes and sharing

thoughts of love and care.



Legends Related to Pongal


Like many other Indian festivals, Pongal also has a few interesting legends

attached to it signifying the importance it holds. The most popular legend is the

one connected to the first day of the Pongal celebration when the Rain God,

Bhogi or Indra is worshipped. According to the legend, on this day Lord Krishna lifted the Govardhan Mountain on his little finger to shelter his people and save

them from being washed away by the rains and floods.

           Another legend is associated with the third day of Pongal celebration,

also known as Mattu Pongal. According to it, Lord Shiva once asked Nandi, his bull, to go to earth and deliver his message to the people - to have an oil bath

every day, and food once a month. But Nandi got it all mixed up when he delivered the message, and told the people that Shiva asked them to have an oil bath once

a month, and eat every day. Shiva was displeased, and told Nandi that since the people would now need to grow more grain, Nandi would have to remain on earth and help them plough the fields. Mattu Pongal is also called Kanu Pongal, and women pray for the welfare of their brothers.





• Fifth Moon • 9 Emperor Gods • Chinese New Year • Mooncake Festival •

• Hungry Ghost Festival • Deepavali • Thaipusam • Pongal • Gawai •

• Kaamatam • Kaul • Fiesta San Pedro   • Christmas • Hari Raya Puasa •









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