By A. Jeyaraj
The Pongal festival is celebrated by Tamils all over the world on the first day of Thai month in the Tamil calendar which normally falls in mid-January. Though it is a harvest festival it is observed as the Tamil New Year and also celebrated as Thamilar Thirunal or Tamils’ Festival by all Tamils regardless of their religious background.
Pongal in Buntong
DNS Movie Productions and a number of NGOs in Buntong organised Pongal Festival for the residents in the Maha Mariamman Temple. Forty families participated in making pongal.
T. Sangaralingam, organiser of the function said that this is the first time this event was organised. It is mainly to promote Tamil culture. This is an occasion during which men and especially women and girls wear traditional dress. Making pongal brings out the creativity of women in making kolams (drawings with rice flour) and other decorations to beautify the pongal pot. It also encourages social interaction.
All participants were given gifts and provided traditional lunch with pongal.
Thamilisai Vilaa or Tamil Musical Festival
Perak Tamilar Thirunal Association (PTTA) organised a Cultural Tamil Musical Festival to celebrate Thamilar Thirunal in Mariamman Temple Hall. Participants comprised of Hindu, Christian and Muslim Tamils showing that this is a festival for all Tamils.
In his welcome address, M. Mathialagan, President of PTTA said that the event was organised to let the Tamils know that Thai Pongal is also Thamilar Thirunal and is celebrated to promote Tamil culture and language.
Events included singing competition of motivational songs, bharata natyam (dance) performance, literary play and poetry recitation. Winners of the singing competition were given cash prizes and all participants received mementos.
The highlight of the event was the cash presentation to deserving poor students from five Tamil schools in Ipoh. Guests were served delicious pongal.
Pongal Get Together
Perak Indian Chamber of Commerce (PICC) held a Pongal get together for its members and friends at its premise in Jalan Iskandar Shah. K.S. Munusamy, President of PICC announced that former President of India, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has accepted the invitation from PICC and would be coming to Ipoh later this year. He requested all Indian organisations to work together to make his visit a success.
During the function, Yakub bin Harun, Ketua Penolong Kanan Pembangunan Kemajuan Negeri Perak presented a mock cheque for RM50,000 to PICC. The PICC Annual Calendar was presented to all guests.