Tourists join in the harvest festivities

THE sounds of the Urumi Melam (Indian drums), traditional performances and pots of sweet rice welcomed tourists at the Menara Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Awe-struck tourists walked about the Winter park where the National Ponggal celebration was held at Menara Kuala Lumpur.

The event, which was held for the seventh consecutive year, is a joint effort by the Putera MIC and Menara KL to expose tourists to the different cultures in KL.

“There are 28 towers in the world but there is only one that celebrates the harvest festival with its tourists,” Menara KL CEO Datuk Zulkifli Mohamad said.

Organising chairman P. Kamalanathan said the celebration at the tower was just the beginning of a month-long nationwide celebration that will end on Feb 14.

“The same event will also be held at Menara Taming Sari, Malacca, on Jan 24. Besides that, it will be celebrated in Shah Alam, Ipoh, Sarawak and Johor as well,” he said.

Putera MIC is also looking at celebrating the festival at international locations the Malaysian way.

“Where there are Putera members and Malaysian students, there will be a Ponggal festival,” Kamalanathan said.

Last year, Malaysian students irrespective of race held the event in Chennai while today the event will take place in Salem, India.

Students in Moscow will also get a feel of shouting “Ponggal O Ponggal” as the milk boils over ushering in prosperity in March.

“For now, it is winter in Moscow so there is no possibility of having it within the month but come March, they will be able to taste the sweet rice as well,” he said.

Students from local universities joined in to make pots of their own Ponggal rice which is made from ghee, milk, cashew nuts and rice.

As the milk in the pot overflowed, the enthusiastic students were seen dancing around the pot after such tiresome work.

A total of 52 pots were used this year in conjunction with Malaysia’s 52 years of independence.

The event was attended by Datin Seri Indrani Samy vellu, the patron of the event, as well as wives of various ambassadors to Malaysia.

Monica Luther, 71, a tourist from Finland said that the entire experience was an interesting one.

“This is the first time I have seen such an event. The dance and the ritual were enlightening,” she said.

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