Pongalo Pongal!

Pongal (also spelled as Ponggol in Malaysia and Singapore) is the Thanksgiving or Harvest Festival celebrated in the southern state of Tamil Nadu in India. Tamil families in Malaysia also place sugar cane stalks and hang sugar cane flowers on their doors during this  mid-January festival.

Pongal refers to the “boiling over” of milk. The overflowing signifies abundance and prosperity. Sugar cane symbolises¬† sweetness and happiness, I was told. It is only one part of the many rituals and traditions that involve grains, fruits, flowers and milk.

Spotted this makeshift stall off the back of a truck in the Setapak Hot Springs area, earlier today. The owner told me he bought the canes from a plantation in Kapar and is selling them at RM 5 per stalk. His son helps out weaving decorative garlands from the sugar cane flowers.

The four-day festival observed in the Tamil calendar month of “Thai” begins on January 15. Happy Ponggol Festival!

Olympus OM-D, ISO 200, f10, 1/320 sec.

Pongalo Pongal!

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