Pongal Celebration at the Language Lab


Sunday, January 14th, 2018 at the Language Lab.
The morning program will be from 8 am to 11 am;
the afternoon and evening program will take place from 4.30pm to 8 pm, ending with dinner!

All are welcome to participate and enjoy!

Recommended Dress code – all day long: saree/long skirt and lungi/dhoti. (If you’d like to know where to buy these in Pondy, just ask us in advance.) Bring it along with you and we’ll teach you how to wear them!

In order to prepare the right amount of food, we need to know how many people will come. We request a contribution of Rs. 100 for Aurovilians, Newcomers and Long-Term Volunteers and Rs. 200 for guests.

Confirm before 7th JAN: info@aurovillelanguagelab.org / grace@auroville.org.in;
0413-2623661;6380-042388.

In addition to learning Tamil, it is also important to understand and participate in cultural aspects and customs. Mirra Women’s Group and Auroville Language Lab decided to celebrate Pongal 2018 to honor the cultural richness of Tamil Nadu in which Auroville is immersed. In the morning, Pongal will be cooked on the traditional wood fire in the traditional way with special wood and there will be the amazing cultural and artistic activities done by the women from the nearby villages and the children of Auroville. In the evening we will have fun in a more contemporary way of celebrating Pongal with bonfire, music and dance.

For those who don’t know, Pongal is a popular Hindu festival that occurs on or around 14 January across India. The day is known by various names and different customs are observed in the different Indian states (Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Uttarayan, Kicheri, Bhogali Bihu…). Despite these variations, it is a harvest and thanksgiving festival marking the start of spring, the end of the traditional farming season and the gathering of the first food from the harvest. It is unique among Hindu festivals as the date is based a solar calendar rather than the phases of the moon. The date of Pongal marks the start of Uttarayana, the time when the sun starts to move northwards after the winter equinox. It is also considered a time of good fortune and important events are scheduled during this period.

In Tamil Nadu the harvest festival is celebrated traditionally for three-four days. Old clothes are thrown away, marking the start of new life. To mark a good harvest, milk or rice is cooked until it boils over – ‘Pongal’ means ‘it boils/rises’. The food is offered to the Sun god before people eat it to cleanse themselves of the past. It is time to offer thanks to the village cows and oxen, who played a key role in the season’s farming as they are used to plough the land. The cows and oxen are bathed, decorated with garlands and worshipped. It is time to thank family and friends who have helped in the farming season and the harvest.