Sharing in the Ponggal fun

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 18 Jan 2020

All smiles: Pupils from SJK(C) Sum Sun, SJK(C) Moh Ghee Pusat and Moh Ghee Cawangan posing together at SJK(T) Sungai Pinang.

GEORGE TOWN: It was a vibrant, colourful Ponggal celebration with pupils and teachers from four vernacular schools joining in the fun.

They started shouting “Ponggalo Ponggal” (to signify overflowing milk) as the earthen pots containing rice, milk and brown sugar is boiled until it overflowed.

Some of them even took part in a “kummi” dance, a folk dance performed usually by women in a circle around the fire pit, during the celebration at SJK(T) Jalan Sungai yesterday.

Besides pupils and teachers from the Tamil primary school, others experiencing the festival were from SJK(C) Sum Sun, SJK(C) Moh Ghee Pusat and SJK(C) Moh Ghee Cawangan.

Yeoh Qian Hong and Teh Yu Hong, both 11, attended the celebration for the first time.

The pupils of SJK(C) Moh Ghee Pusat said they had heard about the festival but did not know how and why it was celebrated.

“We are happy and excited to be here. At least now we know what Ponggal is all about. We are eager to try the sweet rice and take part in all the activities today,” said one of the girls, adding that they would share their experiences with their parents and friends.

Other activities included painting and decorating of earthen pots, thoranam (hanging decorations made from tender coconut leaf blades) and flower tying.

There were loud squeals of delight when a bullock cart made its way to the school compound, with the children and teachers taking turns to go on a ride.

SJK(T) Jalan Sungai’s headmistress K. Anjalay Devi, in her speech, said the event was jointly organised by the Malaysia Hindu Sangam, Penang Hindu Association, the school’s board of governors, parent-teacher association and parents.

“All the items for this event were sponsored. We are happy to celebrate this occasion with our friends from Chinese schools.

“Ponggal is actually a harvest festival where we thank all the five elements of nature and the farmers for cultivating the soil.

“By having this celebration in school, we aim to educate the children to appreciate nature and preserve the greens.

“As we are living in a plural society here, this celebration educates and promotes the culture of tolerance and living together in harmony among our young,” she said, adding that the celebration was held for the third time at the school.

Also present were the school’s board of governor’s deputy chairman P. Murugiah and Bukit Bendera Malaysia Hindu Sangam Council chairman A. Tharman.

The children later enjoyed vegetarian lunch served on banana leaf, with pupils from Chinese schools being encouraged to use their fingers to eat their food.

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Ponggal , harvest festival


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