Pongal, an important Tamil Festival which is most pre-dominant among the agricultrurists and a most anticipated Festival in the rural areas of Tamil Nadu, has gained its prominence in Singapore too, as BUkit Panjang Community Center organizes in a grand scale that finds its place in the Singapore Book of records, year after year.
We approached Mr Moorthy, the organizer to share about the experiences. He says, ‘It was first in 2008, that we started to celebrate the Pongal Festival in Bukit Panjang area. We celebrate for four days. Usually, the first day (i.e) the day before the Pongal, which is called ‘Bogi’, the residents of Bukit Panjang clean the void Deck of the Housing Development Board Flats.
The second day, that is on the day of Pongal, we keep pongal in an authentic manner. First year it was started with about 35 people keeping pongal. Each year the number increased as 50, 111 and this year it was about 200!
Singapore Finance Minister Mr Tharman Shanmugarathnam and Bukit Pajang Mayor Mr Teo Ho Pin graced the occasion and we are really honored to have the Finance Minister and the Mayor for the event with us.
The third day which is dedicated to worship and thank the ‘Cows’, and is generally referred to as ‘Maatu Pongal’ We also celebrate the Maatu pongal by bringing cows and bullok carts.
This year, on the fourth day (i.e) on the kanum pongal day, people were greeted to Tradition Tamil Arts such as ‘poikal kuthirai, karakattam, urumiadi, silambattam and others. We also had Dr Navaneetha Krishnana and Mrs Vijayalakshmi Navaneetha Krishnan, Ms Chinna Ponnu, Dr Elangovan and group and Mr Kala Mohan and troupe perform along with the local artist like Manimaran and Troupe.
My understanding is that around 2000 Singapore students including Chinese and other races participated in all the above functions and got to know of our Tamil culture.
We hope to have more in the future’.