Friday, January 12, 2007

Pongal and Bull Dung!!

Above is my Pongal Pot, which I did two days back with cotton, painting the pot and the paper karumbu (sugar cane), was kept in our showcase.

Thai Pongal(boiling) was a traditional festival of Tamilan’s, which flows (celebrated) during the first four days of Thai Month (mid-January) according to Tamil calendar. Each day refers a special and it calls as Bhogi, Pongal, Mattu (bull) Pongal & Kaanum Pongal. This was my favorite festival always. This was the day we used to thank the Nature, and we can also call this day a new year for our farmers. After the yearlong hard works of plough the soil to make it a good one for cultivate; then seeding the paddy; transplant in to another spacious place and leaving water till it reaches the stage of Harvest, the farmers spent there whole energies to see their paddy are grown well. So to express their happiness by thanking the god they celebrate this Pongal.

The Mattu Pongal is the day to thank the cattle’s, esp. the bulls that helps us to the agriculture. We not only take the energy of bulls, even their dung’s are used for this pongal festival. As it was the Thai first, the next month of the Margazi which was the season for kolam (making a design with rice flour). On this time and on pongal days people used the dissolved bull dung to create a smear before their gateway to draw the kolam. Now days we can only see this smears in the villages of Tamil Nadu, once it was also available to see the smears in chennai some years back. The kolam gets an exquisite when it was put on dung smear floor in rice flour. And it considered auspicious to make the kolams before sunrise, as the Sun God feels welcome before it visit the earth. To bring more attracts to the kolam, a lump of cow dung will places at the center of the kolam and a five petal pumpkin flower will rests on it regarded as a symbol of fertility and an offering of love to the deity.

I have seen some of these incidents near my house at least before 10 years back, the friendly neighbors used to follow this way of putting kolam, some times their would be little fight with others for the bull dung. On the day of Bhogi I noticed many people come to my grandpa house to collect the dung for putting kolam. As we are in the Margazi season, the gateway of my neighbor’s friend’s house would have a thick dung smear floor and as it would be very smooth and our evening hours of sitting, playing and talking with friends will be on that floor, some times even we get scold from the neighbors for braking the dung floor, esp. for leaving tops on that.

It was familiar in villages to cook the pongal, keeping the pot in the middle of the kolam in the dung smear floor with the oven which was daub by the bull dung, some times this pongal was cooked on burning the dried dung cakes. In the villages the people who have mud houses and who already have floors daub by dung for their house, use the bull dung to daub for the Pongal celebration, like how we clean our house with whitewashing the walls. Actually today's situation was, we are missing the real pongal. If we see most of them are cooking the Pongal in Cooker and steel vessels, mostly the people in cities and urban areas. Because of this we miss the real taste of pongal, which prepared in sand pot. Nowadays all of them have gas stoves, so making pongal in firewood’s and dried bull dung have reduced and it also changed the taste. I can’t forget the sweet pongal cooked on the dried dung cake were my mom prepare in the month of Aadi in the Amman Temple. With our forgetting our traditional way of celebrating, at least let we all try to continue with its nature… Wish you all a beautiful pongal with sand pot, sugarcane and more sweets. HAPPY PONGALO PONGAL:)


Ravi said...

Hi Jeevan, romba nalla post. Appadiye you brought the actual Pongal festivities in front of my eyes and being away from home, am missing it more, so thanks to ur post. You are very true in saying that these days Pongal is losing its true meaning and the vigour. A very happy Pongal to you and your family.

starry nights said...

Nice write up about Pongal.True the true meaning og pongal is sometimes lost, but its people like you who remind others and this way it will never be forgotten.Happy pongal to you and your family.

Mysorean said...

Happy Pongal da Jeevan! :)

WA said...

Paanai nalla irukku. Pongal Nalvaazhthukkal

venkatesh said...

Very nice post Jeevan,Enjoyed it a lot. Pongal pot and sugarcane looks great.Happy pongal to U and ur loved ones.

venkatesh said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

what a nice write up on pongal......I miss the sugarcane,and sakarapongal too.
Have a great Pongal . do write about your Pongal celebrations with pictures

Anonymous said...

Jeevan, you have done an amazing job there!
Congradulations and a small request, will you make a pongal panai for me next year? ;)
Pongal valthukkal

Anonymous said...


sree said...

Happy Pongal!!!

Anonymous said...

Happy pongal jeevan


Anonymous said...

eppa oru mini-essay ve ezhudhiteenga pongala pathi! Nalla irundhuchu!

aprom neenga panna Paanai sooperu! Camera irukko?

Anonymous said...


என் இனிய தமிழர் திருநாள் வாழ்த்துக்கள்!!! பொங்கலோ பொங்கல்!!!

Anonymous said...


Keshi said...

Hello Jeevan happy pongal to ya!

LOL @bull dung!


geetha said...

First of all, Happy Ponggal to you and your family!

Good post.. you have really enlightened me of the ponggal celebration in India.. those days :)

visithra said...

inniya ponggal vazhtukal jeevan ;)

thats a nice description n i love the model u did - very pretty

Anonymous said...

jeevan nice decoration (pongal pot'la pongal irrukudhaa :)) )
andha karumba, inguttu konjam anuppunaa nalla irrukum :)..

Happy pongal jeevan.

Anonymous said...

hi jeevan,

nice poto u got, looks as if its a picture..

and for that title.. what a symbol for love and diety..

dude! its long since i blogrolled u and i myet to receive a reciprocation.

Jo said...

Happy Pongal Jeevan!!

monu said...

Hey Jeevan
Happy Pongal to you!
I hope u had a great pongal.
i had fun watching TV. and Little Sriram ad come home so i had lots of fun!

monu said...

Hey, that pot is beautiful and creative. So is the Sugarcane.
what did u paint the pot with?

tulipspeaks said...

Happy Ponggal


Vinesh said...

Nice art job there, Jeevan!
Happy Pongal!

Anonymous said...

Happy Pongal Jeevan!

... enjoy w/ ur family dear and thanx for the lovely card ^_^ i luv it!


Anonymous said...

That was a great write up on pongal Jeevan... Hope you had a great Pongal celebration...

SKM said...

//some times even we get scold from the neighbors for braking the dung floor, esp. for leaving tops on that.//
indha kusumbu yellam pannuveengala.
your handicraft of the pongal pot and karumbu is too good.Have you done any painting Jeev?Happy pongal Jeev.--SKM

Anonymous said...

Nice handwork Jeevan. Nice write-up too !!

Syam said...

belated pongal wishes Jeevan, hope u had a wonderful pongal :-)

Jeevan said...

Ravi – Thanks so much:) at least we cooked the pongal in sand pot in the gas stove instead of firewood’s. Hope You had a nice time on Pongal!

Starry – Thanks dear. Celebrating the festival with its tradiotinal way should be maintained. I had a best pongal days:)

Mysorean – Thanks, Hope u too had Pongals!

(Angel) WA – Thanks Friend:) Hope u had a nice pongal with your family and friends.

Venkatesh - Glad u liked it:) Thanks for your visit! Hope u had nice time with Pongal.

Anonymous – Thank you! Sure will share my pongal days:)

Thooya – Thank you Friend:) why not! Sure I can make a pongal pot for you too. Hope u must have a great pongal with your family.

GP – Thanks bro! Wish you enjoy the festival with ur family & Friend.

Sree – Welcome here:) Happy Pongal too!

Senthil – Thanks, hope u had a nice pongal. Welcome here:)

Karthik B.S. – Thank you karthik, glad u like it:)

Marutham – Thanks so much Marutham:) how was ur pongal?

Keshi – Thanks dear. What did u do for Pongal!

Geetha – Thanks for your wishes:) have u experienced the pongal in India.

Jeevan said...

Visith – Thanks dear:) let me know your celebrations soon..

Gops – No pa there is no pongal in the pot, just cotton though:) I can understand your wish for the pongal karumbu. Happy pongal too!

Barbi – Welcome here:) Thank you. Will check your’s and thanks for blogrolling me.

Jo – Same to u Jo:)

Monu – I had a best pongal forever! I too had fun with TV, pongal, karunbu and visiting village. Glad u enjoyed with Sriram:) yes I paint it with red color with black mixing to get the real pot color. Thank you monu.

Amutha – Thanks:)

Vinesh – Thank you friend! Happy pongal’s:)

Kathy – Thanks dear! I too loved your card, wonder how u could select the best for me:)

KK – Thank you friend. I had a good one; hope u had a nice time:)

SKM – Hummm… Thank you friend! Will post some paintings soon! Wish u have a nice day with pongal!

Pavithra – Thanks pavi! Hope u had a good time.

Syam – thanks, we had friend:)

geetha said...

Nope, haven't been there other than to Banglore & Hydrabad for business trip.

By the way, do I see miniature cars in front of the pot? Are you another car craze person, like my husband? or is it just to fill the space? :)

Jeevan said...

Geetha - yes i like cars more. Once i had lot's of toy cars, me and my bro has put fights for cars many times. Now i have very little, many cars were lost by cousins.