KUALA LUMPUR: Petty traders selling milk, cashew nuts, raisins and honey have seen a marked increase in sales as the Hindu community prepares to usher the Ponggal festival, believed to be celebrated for the past 5,000 years.
The ingredients, including sugar cane, are among those needed to welcome the first day of the Thai month in the Tamil calendar.
Stall assistant Priya Thagaraj, 18, said business had been good over the past two days before the festival and there were brisk sales where at least 100 people frequented the stall.
She said customers had been coming into her stall to buy sweets to offer to the gods during the festival.
The event, also known as the Harvest Festival, is a celebration to thank the sun for a bountiful harvest and blessings for the year.
According to Kulathu Ramaiyer, 69, the head priest of Sri Maha Mariamman Temple at Jalan Tun H.S. Lee, this year's Ponggal would be celebrated at 4.48am today.
The temple will be performing the milk boiling ritual at 6am while the most auspicious time to celebrate it at home is between 8.45am and 10.30am, he said.
Today, those celebrating the festival will boil half a pot of milk and when it boils over, rice, cashew nuts, raisins and honey will be added to the pot.
Sugar cane, symbolising prosperity in life, is usually placed at the house entrance while flowers and sweets like laddu and halwa will be used as offerings for the gods.
Temple volunteer, who wanted to be known as Sri Ganesh, 31, said some 500 devotees attend the event yearly.
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