Tamil Nadu

Four Days of Pongal Celebrations

Day One – Bhogi
The celebrations of Pongal festival start with Bhogi/Bogi, which usually falls on 13th of January. One day prior to Bhogi, the households are clean, so that the premises become pious for the celebrations. People wake up early in the morning, take bath and make beautiful designs of kolam at the verandah of their home. On this day, people worship Sun God and agricultural equipments that are used to cut the crop. Thereafter, they would use the equipments to cut their paddy crop, which would ready to harvest. On Bhogi, people throw unwanted and old materials into fire, which symbolizes the end of old things and the beginning of the new.
Day Two – Surya Pongal
The second day is the main day of Pongal festival and is celebrated as Surya Pongal. On this day, people wake up early in the morning, take bath and worship Sun God. Women would draw beautiful kolam at the entrance of their house. New rice, which was harvested in the previous day, is cooked on Surya Pongal. A new clay pot is used for the purpose. The rice is cooked with milk and jaggery, over the stove, in an open area.
The Pongal thus made is offered to Sun God. The rice-milk-jaggery mixture is allowed to boil well, until the rice falls. This is termed as Pongal. When the boiled Pongal overflows the pot, people would say loudly ‘Pongalo Pongal’! After the Pongal is offered to Sun God, people would relish on several Pongal dishes that are prepared especially for the day and then greet each other, wishing a very happy Pongal.

Day Three – Mattu Pongal
Mattu Pongal is the third day of the festival. This day is dedicated to farm animals including cow and ox, because they help the farmers to raise a crop and harvest it, successfully. On Mattu Pongal, the farm animals are bathed and then adorned in a beautiful way. Their horns are often painted and garland is wrapped around the horns. After applying tilak on the forehead of the cattle, people would offer Pongal to the animal. The farmers often take their farm animals for a round in the entire village.
Day Four – Kaanum Pongal
The fourth and the last day of Pongal is known as Kaanum Pongal. In some parts of Tamil Nadu, Kaanum Pongal is also known as Karinaal. Sun God is worshipped on the day and people offer food along with Sarkarai Pongal. Sugarcane is offered to the deity as well as exchange among people to symbolize sweetness and joy in life. Kaanum Pongal is the time for people to pay visits to their loved ones and faraway acquaintances. Pongal songs and folk dances are performed by people, on Kaanum Pongal.

Pongal – The Festival Celebrating Prosperity

India is a land whose primary occupation is agriculture. Changes in season thus play a very important role for Indian farmers. Their lifestyles and celebrations are thus exclusively linked to the seasonal landmarks in an year. There are many Indian festivals which are in tune with a farmers lifestyle and also with the seasonal variations in an year. Pongal, the harvest festival of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu is one of them.

When is Pongal Celebrated?
This festival marks the beginning of the end of winter season and corresponds to the time when the sun is moving towards Uttarayanam (north) from Dakshinayanam (south). The period is referred to as Uttarayan Punyakalam and is considered auspicious. As per the Tamil calender, Pongal is celebrated four days from the last day of the month of Margazhi (December — January) to the third day of the month Thai (January — February). Thus, according to the Gregorian calender, Pongal is celebrated from 12 to 15 January of which Pongal day or the first day of Thai falls on 14 January.

Common Traditions and Customs
Some of the rituals which are a must on Pongal are cleaning the house and wearing new clothes. The young girls and women wear a lehanga and half sari respectively whereas the men are attired in lungi and angavastram on this occasion. During the Pongal season, people eat sugar canes and decorate the houses with kolam which is made using rice paste. Kolams are generally made of white colour but one may also come across kolams made up of different colours.

Another popular custom is exchanging gifts on Pongal. In villages, farm labourers get ‘Pongal Padi’ or ‘Pongal Parisu’ as Pongal Gifts. This tradition has now moved on to other occupations as well, with employers giving gifts to their employees on the occasion of Pongal. This is an opportunity to present gifts to those among your family and friends as well. Some popular yet appropriate gift ideas on Pongal include Lord sun sculptures (on Surya Pongal), decoratives (on Bhogi Pongal), new kitchen vessels, wooden handicrafts and household goods.

The Festivities
Pongal is a festival that goes on for four days. The first day of festivities is known as the Bogi Pongal, wherein people worship the sun god and earth. The dish Pongal is made by boiling rice with milk. In fact the first paddy that is harvested is used to make Pongal. The second day is Surya Pongal or Perum Pongal. It is the most important day and people worship Surya, the Sun God and his consorts, Chaya and Samgnya. Old articles are thrown in the fire and people have an oil massage and wear new clothes on this day. On the third day of the festival, known as Mattu Pongal, the farm animals like cattles are worshipped. Cattles are bathed and dressed beautifully and served Pongal. The fourth day is Thiruvalluvar day or Kaanum Pongal. People visit family, friends and relatives, women of the house perform puja for the prosperity of their brothers. Many people leave cooked rice on banana leaves for birds on this day.

The Tamil Festival
On this occasion farmers pay their respects to the rain, sun and the farm animals, all of which are essentials in any harvest. Also, since paddy and other crops depend on the availability of good rain and Tamil Nadu does not have many perennial water sources, rain and sun gods are invoked during this auspicious occasion. Pongal is also known as “Tamizhar Thirunal” (meaning “the festival of Tamils”). “Thai Pirandhal Vazhi Pirakkum” which means that “birth of the Thai month will pave way for new opportunities” is a common saying in reference to Pongal.

http://www.pongalfestival.org/pongal-festival-celebrating.html

Rajinikanth’s birthday 2011

Blimey!

Its the birthday of Super star Rajinikanth 🙂 🙂 🙂 I wish him a good health and a long life with many such birthdays to pass over 🙂 Happy Birthday Rajini sir 🙂

Yesterday I was busy posting some other posts which I had in my drafts and the fact that I totally forgot that it’s the birthday of the super hero of South India Mr.Rajinikanth. But for a sad part when I regained my senses to know that it was his birthday I was hooked up with pile of work which made me post this today. Anyhow it is not so late to wish him and write a post on him I guess.

Anyhow, when speaking of Rajinikanth I always do not admire him or go crazy over his style. All I do watch it was he is a good actor just like Mr. Shivajiganesan. Though at times I feel both of them overact in some sequences I must agree they are greatest actors I admire. And Mr.Kamalhasan goes in that list too. But I do wonder few things apart from their acting and I am kept back for a surprise and even learned few things from Rajinikanth which I have stated below:

  1. First of all, I admire his background. Being a common man and as a bus conductor how was he able to become an important nerve of human souls in not even India but the whole world? Its just so surprising isn’t it… First thought I would get is “Oh man he is lucky and that’s why he is so popular”. But is that what is all about being lucky. When thinking deep I can identify the efforts, hard work, patience and most of all the sincerity in each of his work has gained him such name and fame which is undoubtedly he deserves it right. Hats off to him 🙂
  2. The second is “How can a person be so modest and well-mannered? Apart from all these fame how come he balances his mind and heart which will try to rule over him with bigheaded? I do admire Rajinikanth and BigB for this attitude to keep calm and simple without much showing off in any of the places even though they are an important person in the whole fan community and to be on the most shocking side they have a huge fan base that are even ready to die for them. (Ufff…. Guess am jealous and I too sometimes dream of having a tiny fan team for me which might be an enjoyable dream he he he)
  3. With so much of fan power and prominence around the world how are these guys still trying to act in films instead of jumping into politics and earn a huge sum of amount for them and their family? Guess they have earned more than enough for about 10 generations in the film industry alone. Or they might have thought “Why the hell should I make my life complicated by getting into such posts and turn over the peaceful life to a hectic one?” Or they could have really thought as “Being familiar and living in the hearts of the people is more than enough and why can’t we do people good by being in this position itself?”What so ever be their thought all I think is I just love you guys for this one big reason for not entering into politics. (I think so coz though when the people think they could do them good and even they think of doing good to people few top politicians might not let it happen as they always try to buy them for their own good which makes these person’s life a real hell)

 

Anyhow whatsoever be the pros and cons of being a big super star I love the way he presents him to the fellow people 🙂 So long live Rajinikanth 🙂 Happy Birthday to him once again for his 62nd birthday 🙂 🙂 🙂

Colorful Houses!!!

I recently had a visit to Rasipuram. One of the educational hub in Tamilnadu. I happened to notice one thing about this place. Its the colors of the city. Its undoubtedly a colorful city 🙂 I could find all sort of colors been painted on their house irrespective of the look and feel…

Guess the people here love to live their life soooo colorful 🙂 But it does adds a beauty to the houses in a special way unlike my city with light shades of paints used in most of the buildings. So i happened to have a quick click on few of the colorful houses for your view 🙂 🙂 🙂

Guess this would have been a colorful post too 🙂 🙂 🙂

Happy blogging 🙂

Golu galatta!

It’s the post I had been keeping in my draft for a long time to get it published with few more improvisations and it took me so long to make it. Guess it’s too late for this post but please do bear with me people. It’s the golu kept in a nearby temple for all the 9 days of navarathiri which is very widely celebrated Indian festival. These pictures are taken on the 4th day of the celebration after which I was not able to attend it due to certain health issues. But I hope to be present for all the 9 days next year. And it’s my first attempt of attending this celebration in my whole life 🙂 🙂 🙂

In Southern states of Tamil Nadu and to a lesser extent in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, the festival of Navrathri is called Kolu or Navratri Golu, where women set up decorated planks in a corner of the house and decorating it with dolls which are collected over the years. The origin of the word Kolu can be traced to Tamil Kolu or Telugu Koluvai, which means a sovereign sitting in his royal durbar. As per belief the concept of arranging these Navrathri dolls on the plank is to depict that Goddess Mahishasuramardini is sitting in her Kolu, prior to the slaying of the demon Mahishasura.

The dolls are only decorated during these ten days but the collection of dolls may have started over years. These dolls can be very simple to very complicated ones as per ones likes. Every year women enthusiastically arrange these dolls as per their tastes. They either remodify the existing dolls with some new additions or they add couple of new dolls to the existing stacks to decorate the plank every year.

These Navratri dolls are arranged in several tiers. Maximum no of tiers in which dolls are arranged are 9 depending on time and space constraints.

Steps 1-3: These steps are dedicated to— are devoted to the Gods. So all the different idols of

various Gods are arranged here. The kumbham or the ceremonial jar for holy water, which is a conical vessel, is filled with fresh water. A silk cloth covers the mouth of the vessel, a coconut and mango leaves are placed on top of it. This is kept on the first step.

Steps 4-6: The next three steps are devoted to saints like Sai Baba, great men like Swami Vivekananda, demigods and even national leaders who have sacrificed their lives for the country.

Steps 7: Various sets such as the marriage set and pongal set, which signify the various human activities, are placed on the seventh step.

Steps 8: The eighth step is devoted to various businesses and crafts, say the Chettiar dolls (equivalent of Sethji)—a businessman and his wife are placed and their commodities like rice, pulses in cups and other utensils are kept in front of them.

Step 9: The ninth step is the last stage where the traditional wooden dolls called Marapachi — the male and female dolls that are dressed in colorful and shining clothes — are placed. Dolls of animals, birds, reptiles and other forms of evolution are also kept on this step.

On the 10th night after the ceremonial arti and prayers, the dolls are put to ‘sleep.’ And the next day, the exhibits are packed carefully in cloth or paper and preserved for use the next year. Another novel trend is the concept of `community kolus’, when many women, unable to keep kolu in their homes, join hands and put up a Navratri kolu in a common place.

Arranging Navrathri Kolu is also an event in itself it means inviting neighbors, friends and other relatives to visit your home and view the Kolu decorated. Pleasantries and small gifts are exchanged amongst women generally women exchange coconuts, cloths and sweets amongst themselves. Sumangali (married) women also exchange bags containing a small mirror, turmeric, comb, beetle leaves with supari.