Starting the day with ethnic delicacies and drawing kolam, a kind of rangoli, at home, the city’s Tamil population on Thursday celebrated the festival of Pongal.
Popularly known as Thai Pongal in Tamil Nadu, it is a thanksgiving ceremony celebrated by Tamil farmers to thank the spirits of nature, the sun and farm animals for their assistance in providing a successful harvest all through the year.
“We may have settled in Mumbai, but we haven’t forgotten our traditions. Almost all Tamils here celebrate Pongal the same way it is celebrated in Tamil Nadu,” said Rajkumar Vardhraj Naidu, secretary of the Jari Mari Tamil Association.
The association has organised a three-day cultural programme from January 15 that has over 50 children participating in it. For other Tamilians, Pongal celebrations start with the women drawing kolam and preparing pongal prasadam, a mix of rice, jaggery and milk, in pongal pannai, a ritual in which new earthen pots are painted and decorated with turmeric, flowers and mango leaves.
“It is one of my favourite festivals as it brings so many cultural activities along with it,” said Veena Sunderam, a 23-year-old Chembur resident, who has been participating in the cultural dances organised by their local Tamil Association since she was five years old.
“The entire process of rehearsing for the programme after work for a month or two before the day is so much fun,” added Sunderam, a teacher with a private school.