Thai Pongal Celebrations
Thai Pongal festival is celebrated on the 14th – 15th of January yearly. The lively two-day “Harvest Festival” is celebrated grandly among the Tamils, particularly in the north and eastern part of Sri lanka. Houses have kolam, (artwork on the floor using flour) new and bright cloths are worn, gifts are exchanged, old un-useful things are thrown-away, and the house is cleaned, painted and decorated with banana and mango leaves. Pongal festival is celebrated to honour sun god Surya by the Hindus to thank him for blessing the harvest. Prayer rituals called Pujas are conducted in kovils and then the first harvested grains harvested recently from their fields are cooked with fresh milk in a clay pot. The milk rice called as “paal sooru” in Tamil is allowed to boil over and to flow over, indicating abundance in their future lives. Fruit and Pongal sooru is then sacrificed to the sun god before the family members get together to have morning meal. Youth and children enjoy lighting fire crackers and playing traditional outdoor games.