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Thai Pongal

Thai Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated by Tamils. Thai means “January” and Pongal means “boiling over”.
1st of January is the first day of the year for Western people, but for Tamil people, Thai Pongal day is their first day of the year. On this day, traditionally, they cook ‘milk rice’ with the harvest.
Traditionally, people harvest their first rice and cook milk rice, the pongal, with it to thank the Sun God.

The above photo shows a boy carrying firewood to sell and buy clothes to celebrate Pongal. When we asked him about Thai Pongal, he simply replied ’you buy rice and milk from a shop and make milk rice, and thank God saying that it is your harvest. In the past years we celebrated Thai Pongal by collecting harvest from our own paddy field. But, after resettlement, we still could not harvest our paddy. We need money to buy rice so we do this kind of temporary jobs and celebrate Thai Pongal.
They cannot harvest their own rice due to many reasons including climate change. We realize that climate change not only affects livelihood of these people, but also their religious customs.

January 28, 2010 in Sri Lanka |