Over 100 gather to celebrate Ponggal festival at UM

KUALA LUMPUR: The weather was hot and dry, but this did not bother over 100 students who had gathered for the People’s Ponggal 2007 celebration at Universiti Malaya yesterday. 

Present at the event to mark the harvest festival were not only Malaysians of various races and religions but also foreign students, who were all busy boiling milk in clay pots over charcoal stoves.  

Although the smoke from the stoves caused them to cough and made their eyes teary, they continued to fan the fires enthusiastically so that the milk would boil over and flow from the pots. 

Hindus of Tamil origin across the world celebrate Ponggal, a three-day festival.  

Enhancing ties: K. Pushparani (left) showing students Sri Sharinnie Rizal (second left), Carolina Nordblad(third left), Cheong Hsin Yi (third right), Johanna Paju (second right) and Hitomi Karto how to stir the milkin the clay pot during the Ponggal celebration at UM

Ponggal also marks the beginning of the month of Thai on the Tamil calendar.  

The highlight of the thanksgiving celebration is the overflowing of milk from the clay pots, which signifies an abundant harvest. 

Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Ong Tee Keat, who launched the event, said people from all walks of life and different backgrounds could foster better relationships with one another by participating in such celebrations. 

“Malaysia is a land of diverse cultures and since we are all here to celebrate Ponggal, it is only fair that we take the initiative to understand its significance,” he said.  

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