Penang Hindus Celebrate Thanksgiving During Pongal Festival
Penang Hindus Celebrate Pongal, a “thanksgiving” festival traditionally dedicated to the sun god for a bountiful harvest. Many people worship the sun god, Lord Surya by offering prayers on this auspicious day.
Preparation for Pongal
During Pongal, homes are cleaned, painted and decorated with Kolam (Tamil-கோலம்) which is a drawing made in the front yards of the houses using chalk or rice flour, sometimes with synthetically color powders. For festivals, more complex and colorful kolams are drawn as a mark of the festivities.
Celebration at the Temple
At the Sri Visvanather Sri Visalatchi Alayam Temple, Bayan Baru, Hindus gather at the temple dressed in their new clothes and jewelry with their clay pots ready with sugarcane arrangements.
The pots are set on top of bricks’ and a fire is lit using firewood. Fresh milk is poured in with freshly harvested rice and set to boil.
The ritual “boiling over” until rice and milk mixture spills out of the clay pot is believed to bring good luck and prosperity to the household.
The moment the rice boils over and bubbles out of the pot, Hindus will shout
The happy cries of Pongolo Ponggal fill the air.
In the temples, devotees will offer prayers and chant as the rice dish is prepared for offering vegetables, sugar cane, and spices.
The devotee will cleanse themselves of past sins first.
Later the devotees will consume a vegetarian meal as a celebration of Pongal.
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