Through the "London Tamil Sangam", many of who's leaders are based on Croydon, we are invited to the annual Pongal celebrations at India House in Aldwych in the evening on Friday 17th January. Please note that there is now a waiting list for this event. Please register at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/2020-pongal-special-events-tickets-84606296711.
Pongal is like a Tamil Xmas, that takes place in January. "Thanking the Sun God for agricultural abundance over a 4 day festival"
The very first day known as 'Bhogi', is celebrated on the last day of the Tamil month 'Margazhi'. On this day, people decorate their homes and buy new utensils.
On the second day known as 'Perum Pongal', people worship the Sun God who blesses earth with energy. Women decorate their courtyards with rangolis or kolams, which is made of rice flour.
The third day known as 'Mattu Pongal', is dedicated to the cattle which is the livelihood of farmers. On this day, cows are bathed, decorated with garlands and worshipped. Also, bullfight is held in the villages.
Lastly, 'Kaanum Pongal' that marks the last day of the festival. People perform the traditional dance 'Kolattam' and have rejoice by having their staple food.
Pongal is also the name of a dish, which is eaten at the festival, like an alternative to goose or turkey here for xmas, and available all year round as a regular meal too.