"...a new earthenware pot called Pongapanai, on an open fire. The neck of the pongapanni is decorated with the fresh green turmeric and root ginger with is tender green leaves. The green leaves signify prosperity, the turmeric signifies auspiciousness, and the ginger is representative of the spice in life. (source, page 68)"
When the rice boiled in milk begins to overflow, it is a joyous occasion, and the children and adults as well will shout out 'Pongal-o Pongal!' Children will dance and make music to the tune of these words. "Pongal-o pongal" loosely translates into English as 'it's boiling over.' More than the translation, the feeling behind these words is that the universe, god and mother earth offer us a rich abundnace and harvest, so much so that it overflows our requirements and our lives will be full of abundance in many ways for the years to come! The rice is cooked and prepared as a dish called Pongal. There are two kinds of Pongal, savory (venpongal) and sweet (chakrai). This Pongal variety is called venpongal, ven meaning white. Another variety is also prepared with dhal and jaggery (sweet), called chakraipongal, chakrai meaning sweet. To accompany the venpongal, people eat brinjal (eggplant) sambar (stew), vadai, idli, and spicy accompaniments. This is one of my favorite meals!
Read about the first day of Pongal celebrations, Bhogi Pongal.
On to day three, Maatu Pongal.
Jennifer Kumar, author of this blog, is the Managing Director of Authentic Journeys. Authentic Journeys provides cross-cultural business coaching to Indians and Americans to promote improved cross-cultural business exchanges. Contact Jennifer here.