Festive mood: TFA members celebrating Ponggal at the temple in Datuk Keramat.
GEORGE TOWN: It is usually a double celebration for businessman R. Purushothaman, 38, and his wife V. Sharmila Devi, 37, during Ponggal which coincides with their wedding anniversary.
“Our wedding day is on Jan 14 and Ponggal falls on the date or a day earlier,” he said.
The couple and their four children Devayani, 13, Ashwin, 11, Varnisa, five and Jagdeish, two, traditionally celebrate the festival at the Temple of Fine Arts (TFA) in Babington Avenue in Datuk Keramat where they married 14 years ago.
“Celebrating Ponggal here is like cherishing our sweet wedding memories,” said Sharmila, who works as a secretary, when met at the TFA premises.
She said they would celebrate Ponggal at home first before joining the celebration at TFA with several families who are also members.
In Johor Baru, businessman S. Balachandran, 56, and his wife M. Sugunah, 52, said that while the festival was not celebrated on a grand scale like in India, it was important to preserve traditions.
“I have three sons and a daughter and due to work commitments, it is very rare that all of us are together at one time. It is events like Ponggal which allow us to bond as a family,” he said when met at his home in Bandar Seri Alam.
Balachandran said this year his family decided to boil the Ponggal using the traditional method and it was interesting to see how his family worked together to light the fire and keep the flames burning while waiting for the milk to overflow.
“During Ponggal, we usually boil milk in a clay pot and when the milk overflows, we exclaim, ‘Ponggalo Ponggal!’,” he said, adding that the lady of the house was in charge of boiling the Ponggal.
Sugunah said that the overflowing of milk from the pot symbolised the start of new opportunities and the whole ritual is done to convey appreciation and thankfulness to the sun god, Lord Suria.
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