Tamils in Malaysia prepare for Pongal fest

January 13th, 2009 - 12:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, Jan 13 (IANS) The “Little Indias” across Malaysia are agog with social and business activities two days ahead of the Pongal festival celebrated by its two-million strong Tamil community.Much in demand are pots, sugarcane and turmeric plants to usher in the new Tamil month called Thai, with people unmindful of the economic downturn.

“Despite fears that this year’s celebration may be toned down due to the economic downturn, the scene here showed nothing to that extent,” The Star newspaper said in a report from Klang Tuesday.

“In fact, most shops have reported brisk sales since last Saturday. Rows of beautifully painted earthen pots, sugarcane and turmeric plants were seen stacked along the sidewalks of the busy streets.

“Truckloads of vegetables are also on sale as most Tamil households usually prepare vegetarian dishes for the day,” the newspaper said.

Pongal is prepared in a new pot early in the morning by boiling rice with fresh milk and brown sugar which is later topped with ghee, cashew nuts and raisins.

It is believed that if you see the milk boiling over, it means good luck and prosperity is forthcoming.

The second day of Pongal is called the Mattu Pongal.

On this day, the cows are bathed and garlanded and their horns painted. They are allowed to roam free and fed pongal and sugarcane.

The third day is called Kaanum Pongal when people visit their relatives and friends, and girls usually cook pongal in temples in the hope of finding a suitable husband.

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