The Pongal (Harvest Festival) was originally held in celebration of a good harvest in South India where farming is the main form of livelihood. Here in Singapore though, the Pongal welcomes the beginning of the Tamil month of Thai and is celebrated in the form of a thanksgiving.
Pongal is typically celebrated over four days. The first day is spent cleaning up and discarding old clothes and the like to welcome a new beginning. On the second day, milk, rice and sugar are boiled together to produce a type of bright yellow or orange sweet rice pudding that is presented as offering to the Gods in return for their blessings. On this same day, house visits are made and greetings are exchanged. The third day is dedicated towards honouring the cattle, which are bathed on the final day before having their horns polished and painted in bright colours.
Visitors can witness certain significant rituals and customs such as the honouring of the cattle and the Mass Pongal which consists of a cooking competition among 15 families, which falls usually on the 15th and 16th of January, as part of the nine-day Pongal Festival held in Little India. During this joyous festival period, Campbell Lane, in the forefront of Serangoon Rood is usually transformed into a pedestrian-only mini village during this period. You can browse the stalls and get your hands on unique souvenirs for your loved ones. Culture vultures can also expand their horizons with the daily Pongal themed cultural performances taking place here.
Dates to note:
Pongal – 15 Jan 2011