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Pongal Festival in Singapore: New Beginnings and Fun Celebrations in Little India

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Looking for something fun and different to do with the kids this weekend? How about learning to milk a cow? It’s part of the Pongal celebration happening in Little India

India is a land rich in festivals and if there’s one thing that Indians know how to do well, it is to celebrate these festivals with great pomp and ceremony. January is the month where a number of harvest festivals are celebrated in various parts of India, and Pongal is an important festival celebrated by the Tamil diaspora around the world.

Pongal is a four-day festival to convey gratitude and appreciation to the Sun God (Surya) for a successful harvest and to usher in a bountiful spring season. During this festival, households will typically cook rice with milk in an earthenware pot and let it boil over to symbolize the “bubbling over” of prosperity. This is also a time when cattle is honored, especially the cow, which is considered sacred in the Hindu religion. Pongal is an occasion for making offerings at the temple, for lively social gatherings, and for new beginnings when people don new clothes and do spring cleaning in their homes.

Read more: Top 5 Spots for Indian Kids’ Fashion in Singapore

While we are unlikely to see “harvest seasons” living in an urban city like Singapore, this festival is still relatable in modern times. The celebration of this festival provides an opportunity to teach children (and ourselves) to value and celebrate mother nature and the animals around us, and to set our intentions for a fresh new start to the year.

How is Pongal celebrated in Singapore?

Little India comes alive with street decorations and festive stalls, dance and musical performances, as well as an interactive heritage carnival. This Friday (11 January) kicks off with the light-up ceremony, with the following days buzzing with activities. Bring your kids along for a rich cultural experience. They will get to see an exhibit of live animals such as the cows, bulls, calves and goats, learn about rice farming, how to milk a cow, take part in craft activities, food tastings, traditional games and watch performances!

Below is a programme of the planned activities for Pongal. For more information, be sure to check out the LiSHA Facebook page.

Jan 11             Pongal Light-up Ceremony
Location: Campbell Lane
Time: 6:30pm – 10pm

Jan 11-21       Pongal Festival Village (featuring street stalls with festival-related sweets and other items)
Location: Campbell Lane
Time: 10am – 10pm

Jan 11-18       Pongal Kondattam (featuring folk dances and singing performances)
Location: Campbell Lane
Time: 6:30pm – 10pm

Jan 11-19       Animal Farm – Heritage Carnival (featuring live animals such as the cows and goats!)
Location: Hastings Road
Time: 10am – 10pm

Jan 14-18       Pongal Heritage Experience (featuring interactive exhibits and mock-ups)
Locations: Indian Heritage Center, Campbell Lane, Hastings Road
Time: 10am – 4pm

Read more:
Ultimate Guide to Little India
Top 10 Indian Restaurants in Singapore

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