Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pongal Celebration in Tamil Nadu, Day Two

This is the second day of Pongal, known as Surya Pongal. Taking place on the first day of the Tamil month Thai, this day is dedicated to Surya, the Sun god. Milk and jaggery (palm sugar) is boiled in a colorful pot outside the home, and is offered to Surya. Newly harvested rice is also boiled and allowed to overflow, signifying plenitude. A special rice dish called Pongal is created, which contains dhal and sugar. Another variety is created with dhal and jaggery, which is sweeter.

All over Tamil Nadu, women create particularly elaborate kolams on the day of Surya Pongal. Some are of the white powder, while others incorporate colored powders and perhaps even flower petals, etc. Typically the kolams are larger and more intricate than what they'd make on an everyday basis. Common themes in my neighborhood included the overflowing pongal pot, sugar cane, ghee lamps, and flowers. A few also had the sun symbol.

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