Ponggal festival is a time when indians offer thanks

The auspicious period for 2009 begins onWednesday(Jan 14). To mark it, Hinduswill celebrate the thanksgiving festival of Ponggal.

The event signifies the start of a period considered to be good for marriages, moving house, buying hew vehicles or property, sealing business deals and travelling.

From an astrological standpoint, this is a favourable period because it isthe time when the sun enters the Northern Hemisphere.

The sun moves from the Tropic of Capricorn to the Tropic of Cancer via the Equator on Jan
14 and this movement is termed the summer solstice.

For those who have been postponing their wedding plans or finding it difficult to decide on their life partner, this would be the time to make your choice.

The favourable planetary positions can influence these individuals to clear their doubts and allow them to make rational decisions.

The best days to get married are Thursday and Friday, followed by Monday, Wednesday
and Sunday. Tuesday and Saturday are inauspicious.

In the homes of South Indians who will usher in Ponggal – to offer thanks to the universe for its blessings of water, land, air and light)- much cheer and happiness will prevail.

In India, Ponggal is celebrated over three days as a harvest festival by farmers and livestock breeders to offer gratitude to nature for a good harvest. For farmers, this is the time they rejoice the fruits of their labour and take a break from their farming activities.

It is vital that Hindus celebrating this event prepare their home to usher in the goodness and prosperity.

The decorations should include two sugar cane branches at the main doorway of the house to symbolise sweetness. Eleven mango leaves should be hung at the main entrance to woo positive energy and ward off negative entities.

On the eve of the festival, the house should be washed clean (better to use water mixed with turmeric powder as it is said to be able to remove unseen negative energies). Broken and damaged utensils, frayed furniture and drapery should be replaced with new ones and dust and dirt should be cleared. All this prepares the home to welcome an event which is celebrated with as much joy as Deepavali.

The featival’s main event is the boiling of milk in a clay pot. Family members gather round the pot to match the milk overflow and chant “Ponggale lo Ponggale” while adding rice to it. In Tamil, this “overflow” signifies goodness and wealth for the whole family.

Cooking vessels should be adorned with mango and turmeric leaves, dotted with vermilion and turmeric, and placed on the fire by the woman of the house. (Women are regarded as the wealth and beauty of the home.)

The speciality of the day will most likely be sweet brown sugar rice cooked in butter milk, mixed with raisins and cashew nuts. Once the food is ready, it should taken out in the sun as
a thanksgiving offering.

Family and guests should be treated to lunch and sweets to strengthen family ties and enhance friendship and goodwill.

Also, the ceremonial surya namaskar (worship of the Sun God) is to be performed.

The second day of the celebration is known as Mattu Ponggal and is devoted to cows, which are regarded as sacred animals for the Hindus. In villages, cows are given a bath and they then get their horns painted and decorated with garlands.

The third day of Ponggal, known as Kanni Ponggal, focuses on eligible women. They must dress in new cloths and gold ornaments and offer special prayers to get a good husband.

Vasthu talk

The columnist will give talk on Art of Happy Living for peace and prosperity on March 28 at 10am at Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman at No. 13, Jalan 13/6, PetalingJaya, Selangor. Admission is free but registration is required. To register, call G. Ramalingam at 012-329 9713.

T Selva, The Star’s Sunday Metro Editor, has spent years researching and writing about the
ancient Indian science of construction, better known as ‘Indian feng shui’. He is the first disciple of 7th generation Vasthu Sastra Master Yuvaraj Sowma from Chennai, India.

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