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Thread: Thai Pongal

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    Thai Pongal

    Saidevo, and others: Please add to this when you can. I'll share what I know.

    Thai Pongal is the Tamil harvest festival, celebrated in the month of Thai.
    Here at my temple its a fun event. Some of my Sri Lankan Tamil friends take it quite seriously. Here this year it will be on the 14th of January of the Julian calender. But here it becomes crazy, because of the weather. A large pot of boiled milk is placed outside the temple. Many devotees come along and offer various grains into the large pot. The milk is heated untip it is boiled over. Then it is used as prasadam.

    I am sort of the honorary guest as I am the only 'farmer' they know, because I manage the temple's vegetable garden, and I grew up on a farm in rural Alberta. This year the forecast is for about +2 Celsius. But one year it was about -30 Celsius. So people were popping in and out from the temple just to warm up. Of course many are dressed in veshtis, so it can be cold. Some wear long underwear (called Long Johns colloquially) but many don't, like me. The year it was -30 you could hardly see the pot for all the steam rising from it. At that temperature steam forms incredibly fast. So watching all these guys dancing around, giving directions, and the like is good clean fun, and funny. Most have booked off work for the morning as well, as they do take it seriously.

    Perhaps, Saidevo or other Tamilians, you can elaborate, or share your stories of how this festival is celebrated locally in TN.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: Thai Pongal

    Namaste: Happy Thai Pongal to all Tamilians and others who celebrate it. I'm off to temple this AM. Hopefully the pot boils over on the right side.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: Thai Pongal

    namaste EM.

    Hindus in TamilnADu don't generally accept the proposition of commencing the so called Tamil New year on the day of Pongal (the first of the month of Thai). The efforts of implementation fell flat and the Hindu calendara and panchAngam this year clearly mention Chittirai 1 (usually Apr 14) as the Tamil New Year day. This date generally occurs earlier in the other parts of India, but the fact remains that we are about to complete the 5110th year of the era of Kali Yuga.

    We in TN, celebrate Pongal at home by getting up early, have a bath, finish our nita karma (like the SandhyAvandanam), while the women hoist the Pongal PAnai (pot) at the prescribed auspicious time. First, milk is boiled until it spills over: as you said the direction it spills over is important: it is not supposed to spill over in the south direction, and it generally doesn't on such auspicious occasions. Then with the boiled milk, sweet pongal is cooked, adding jaggery, ghee, cashews, raisins and a seed or two of cardamom. Some people add a piece of ripe banana and honey to their plate and consume it along with the pongal.

    When the pongal and vaDai made of Urd dahl are ready, we bring the pongal pot to the puja room, adorn it with sandal paste, kumkumam, and flowers and tie a pair of turmeric plants around it, keep one or a pair of sugercane nearby and perform the SUryaNArAyaNa puja prescribed for the makara shankrAnti day. The pUja comprises the preliminary pujas of GaNapati, KaNTam (bell), Kalasam (pot) and then to the main deity, SUrya, whose 108 names are chanted and archana performed to the pot with flowers and akShata. At the end of the puja, arArti is shown to the pot and then to the sun.

    Our main meal session commences after the puja is over. It is the normal worldly life of watching the TV etc. after the meal. In the evening we visited our family guru (a close disciple of KAnchi ParamAchArya; in his eighties now) with a pack of our pongal and vaDai.

    On the 2nd of Thai (Jan 15th), it is the day of MATTuppongal, when the farmers worship their cows and bulls. The jallikkaTTu sports are organized in many villages in TN, although the event usually leaves many young people who try to control the bull get injured and one or two even die in the effort. The next day is called the kANum pongal (kANum--seeing) when people usually visit their friends and relatives. These days the main attraction is the trade fair orgainized in Chennai. The TN government does its part by organizing festive events that showcase the village arts of TN and the TV media this year participated in them in a big way.
    रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
    ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥

    To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.

    --viShNu purANam

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    Re: Thai Pongal

    Saidevo: Because of the cold weather here, the community celebrates it together, although back home in Sri Lanka, it would have been done almost the exact same as you describe. This way, people take turns getting cold, and tending to the fire and pot, while the women have a social time making vadai and mogada balls for Ganesha. It's always a joyous little festival. We were really blessed yesterday as it was only about -5 C and the sky was clear for the sun. A cultural TV program filmed it for their news in the evening so I got to see it all on TV later. Happy Pongal to you.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: Thai Pongal

    Vannakkam: This coming Sunday is Thai Pongal for 2012, so I hope everyone on HDF has a Happy Pongal. Our temple will be celebrating at 8AM in a community way. Weather is supposed to be reasonable, not -40 like in some years, when the steam made it so you couldn't even see the pot clear enough to add your bit of rice.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: Thai Pongal

    Quote Originally Posted by Eastern Mind View Post
    Namaste: Happy Thai Pongal to all Tamilians and others who celebrate it. I'm off to temple this AM. Hopefully the pot boils over on the right side.

    Aum Namasivaya
    Namaste,

    Happy New Year and Happy Pongal Mubarak to all Tamils.

    I like to something about 14th of January. Gujarat celebrates 14th of January as Makarsankranti - Uttarayan. In North India, Gujarat celebrates this festival but I am not sure of any-other state in North celebrates or not.

    Uttarayan is a kite flying day for Gujarati people. You will see all of the people on terrace-roof of the houses, flying kites from early morning. They cook Undhiyu and Jalebi on this day.
    Here is a video of Undhiyu Jalebi - In Gujarati
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSMhP5B6frU

    Here is video of people flying kites.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&fe...&v=uCjcYWeDNwc

    Uttarayan has spiritual importance also. On this day, temples are full of donations. People donate so much of grass for cow and jaggery to temples.

    I request some experienced person to kindly share his/her knowledge about Uttarayan as Bhismapitamah was waiting for Uttarayan to leave his body. If we die on or after Uttarayan ( six month), there are more chances of getting Moksh.
    Namaskar,

    AmIHindu ?

    यज्ञानां जपयज्ञोऽस्मि ।

    नाम्नोऽस्ति यावती शक्तिः पापनिर्हरणे हरेः । श्र्वपचोऽपि नरः कतुँ क्षमस्तावन्नकिल्विषम् ।।

  7. #7

    Re: Thai Pongal

    A very happy pongal/Makara Sankaranthi for everyone here.
    Thai is an auspicious month for starting new ventures, conducting weddings etc while the past month Margazhi is for spiritual awakening.
    People rush to fix good dates for weddings this month .

    It is not just a harvest festival ,it marks the North ward movement of the Sun and it is the start of the day for Devas in Devalokha.
    Our one year is equal to one day in Deva's World. And Margazhi , someone said ,was important as it was pre dawn-Brahma Muhurta for Devas.
    Yes, Bhishmacharya waited for this day to shed his body.He had spent the "pre-dawn" in contemplation of Jagad Guru Sri Krishna .
    We are eternally grateful to him for the gift of Vishnu Sahasranama.

    Last year as I do usually I prepared offerings and took it out to the outdoors to offer it to Sri Surya Deva.I had no way of checking the taste of Charkkara[ sweet] pongal as it was for puja. I was concerned it should be good to taste. For the first time in my life I felt tears in my throat as I looked at the golden disc above and requested him to try my offering.
    He is referred to as the Pratyaksha Deivam [ one you can see] .He is .To the Saivites he is Siva Surya , to the Vaishnavites he is Surya Narayana.
    May he lead us all on the path of truth.
    Loka Samasta Sukhino Bhavanthu

    Flowing Along

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    Re: Thai Pongal

    Vannakkam all: So it was only about -17 C this morning for Pongal, and a slight northerly breeze that helped the pongal fire, but made aarti difficult later. Two men in veshtis and hooded parkas with shoes took turns stoking the fire while a few others watched out the windows.

    The steam from the pot blew away, unlike a few years ago when it was closer to -40 and the steam rose straight up making it practically impossible to see the pot while offering the pongal to it, and placing it in.

    But our new priest is a hardy soul. Not sure exactly what or how long he would do the puja outside, devotees weren't prepared enough to at least put a rug for him to stand on. So it was a barefoot 10 minutes on concrete. I hope he didn't get frostbite.

    There was something real ethereal about hearing the Sanskrit, and thevarams outside today. Sound carries much differently in dry cold air. Surya was barely peeking out over some rooftops at about a 10 degree angle to the southeast.

    May everyone enjoy a year of prosperity and good harvest!

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: Thai Pongal

    Happy Sankranti ie today and , kanuma which is tomorrow, Bhogi was yesterday. Is your Pandit from Himalayas or what, he will soon turn into an human icicle before the winter draws close at this rate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eastern Mind View Post
    Vannakkam all: So it was only about -17 C this morning for Pongal, and a slight northerly breeze that helped the pongal fire, but made aarti difficult later. Two men in veshtis and hooded parkas with shoes took turns stoking the fire while a few others watched out the windows.

    The steam from the pot blew away, unlike a few years ago when it was closer to -40 and the steam rose straight up making it practically impossible to see the pot while offering the pongal to it, and placing it in.

    But our new priest is a hardy soul. Not sure exactly what or how long he would do the puja outside, devotees weren't prepared enough to at least put a rug for him to stand on. So it was a barefoot 10 minutes on concrete. I hope he didn't get frostbite.

    There was something real ethereal about hearing the Sanskrit, and thevarams outside today. Sound carries much differently in dry cold air. Surya was barely peeking out over some rooftops at about a 10 degree angle to the southeast.

    May everyone enjoy a year of prosperity and good harvest!

    Aum Namasivaya

  10. #10

    Re: Thai Pongal

    Makar Sankranti is the harvesting Hindu Festival celebrated in India and Nepal. Kite Flying Festival is one of the customary of North India during Sankranti.

    You can check below links for more onformation related to makarsankranti.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uttarayana

    http://www.rudraksha-ratna.com/articles/makarsankranti

    http://www.drikpanchang.com/sankrant...date-time.html

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