Thai Pongal

In Malaysia, Thai Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated out of season because it is fixed in the Hindu calendar. Tamils celebrate this festival around the second week of January. While it is still dark, farmers rise and cook some of the newly harvested grain. Pongal is the presentation of the cooked harvested grain to the sun at dawn.

The sun god, on whom the crops depend so much, is worshipped. Prayers are also conducted in the temple and in the home on a small scale.

However, for urban families, this ritual has been adapted to their own living conditions. Here the family rises, bathes and gets dressed before dawn. This is done without the use of any form of light. When everyone is ready, wearing their best clothes, they assemble around a display of fruits and flowers. Only then are lamps lit. The vision of natural beauty must be the first sight in the morning. On the rising of dawn, a vegetarian breakfast is enjoyed by all members of the family.