Monday, January 14, 2008

What’s on Fire today?

When I went out this morning to get my newspaper from the guy i usually patron. (sorry I have not taken a photo of him) I noticed immediately that there was a lot of smoke and a nasty burnt rubber smell. When I walked down to Anna Salai I found out why.

Today is a Holiday, Bhogi, the first of the 4 days of Pongal. The best way to describe it as spring cleaning and when you have all your trash together, burn it. Clothes, tires, broken toys, trash and pots are burned.

Pongal is the celebration of the Harvest and lasts 4 days. Here is a link to the Wikipedia definition of Pongal.

And the summary:
Day 1 is Bhogi - spring cleaning and burning. Included is a picture of Anna Sali as I walked from getting my paper.

Day 2 is Thai – Boiling of rice with sugar and milk and then adding brown sugar, cashews and raisins. The mixture is supposed to boil over in the pot, its good luck. You are supposed to yell Ponggalo Ponggal when that happens. (We probably will not do this, but we did have sweet rice for lunch today.)

Day 3 is Maattu Pongal – The celebration for the cattle that help with the farmers, for providing the milk, dung for fires and plowing. They get to roam free this day and eat rice.

Day 4 is Kaanum Pongal – where people go to the beach and theme parks and visit relatives. They also chew sugar cane and make kolam’s (chalk powder drawings)