“Pongal” @ TPE India
The “Pongal” festival lasts for four days. On the first day, Bhogi, old clothes and other old things are burnt or thrown away, symbolising a new beginning. Vakisan Pongal, the actual Pongal day, falls on the first day of the Tamil month of Tai, usually 14 or 15 January, according to the Tamil calendar. Early in the morning, people cook the typical dish, which is also called Pongal. It consists of milk with the new rice and syrup made from the palm sugar of the new harvest. According to the old tradition, it should be cooked in an open courtyard, if possible, in a new pot on a new fireplace. Large sticks of sugar cane stand next to the Pongal pot. The pot is placed on the wood fire so that the milk comes up to boil as close to sunrise as possible. Then the rice and syrup are added. Later, people give gifts to their neighbours and exchange festive greetings. This day is the most important of the Pongal festival.