Social Media


Kid-friendly Guide to the 2024 Pongal Festival in Singapore

pongal events 2023
LearnPost Category - LearnLearnFamily LifePost Category - Family LifeFamily LifePlayPost Category - PlayPlayWhat's OnPost Category - What's OnWhat's On - Post Category - Things to Do With KidsThings to Do With Kids

Here’s everything you need to know about the 2024 Pongal Festival in Singapore!

India is a land rich in festivals, and the Indian community sure knows how to celebrate these festivals with great ceremony! From 15 to 18 January 2024, Little India will bustle with even more colour and life than usual for the 2024 Pongal Festival, which features magnificent light displays and kid-friendly workshops. January is the month when 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.

Read More: Top 10 Indian Restaurants in Singapore

When is Pongal 2024?

Pongal is from 15 – 18 January 2024. The festival usually begins on the last day of the ninth month in the Tamil calendar.

What is Pongal?

Pongal festival activities in Singapore
Image Credit: Indian Heritage Centre

Pongal is a four-day harvest festival celebrated by the Tamil community to convey gratitude and appreciation to the Sun God (Surya) for a successful harvest and to usher in a bountiful spring season. This is also a time when cattle are honoured, 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.

While we are unlikely to see “harvest seasons” living in an urban city like Singapore, this festival is still relatable in modern times. Pongal celebrations provide 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.

The Pongal festival is spread out over four different days, and each day has its own meaning and traditions:

Day 1: Bhogi Pongal
The first day of Pongal is typically when houses are cleaned out and old belongings are discarded to mark a fresh start. Not only are houses decorated, but new clothes are also worn to celebrate a new chapter.

Pongal 2023 Singapore - Cooking Pongal
Image Credit: Nithi Anand via Wikimedia Commons

Day 2: Surya Pongal/Thai Pongal
The second day of Pongal is when the community honours the Sun God (Surya). Typically, households will decorate the main entrance into the home with kolam (a decorative art made with rice powder), and will typically cook rice with milk in an earthenware pot (pictured above), letting it boil over to symbolise the “bubbling over” of prosperity. The family will shout “Pongalo, Pongal” as the pot bubbles over, and this is followed by a meal with specially prepared dishes. The cooked Pongal from the pot is also offered to the Sun God.

In Singapore, you’ll find two kinds of cooked Pongal: Sakkarai Pongal (sweet) and Venn Pongal (savoury); the latter is usually served for breakfast. And while there are many ways to cook a pot of Pongal, common ingredients include rice and raisins, ghee, milk, cardamom and cashews.

Day 3: Mattu Pongal
The third day of Pongal is devoted towards cattle, to honour the hard work they do for farmers. In India, cows are bathed and dressed up with beards, flowers, bells, and more. While this isn’t common practice in Singapore, some dairy farms that are owned by members of the Indian community may offer thanksgiving prayers instead.

Pongal 2023 Singapore - Poi Kal Kuthirai Attam dancers
Image Credit: Kumarrajendran via Wikimedia Commons

Day 4: Kaanum Pongal
The fourth day of Pongal is dedicated to strengthening familial and community ties. The elders of the family give their blessings to the younger folk, and most families typically gather for a meal together. In India, you will find traditional folk dances being performed – these include dances such as the mayilattam (peacock dance), kolattam (stick dance) or the poi kaal kuthirai attam (horse dance, pictured above).

How is Pongal celebrated in Singapore?

Most families celebrate Pongal 2024 in Singapore at home with their loved ones. Most temples here will have communal Pongal cooking, and many devotees will also come to offer prayers and participate.

Family-friendly activities for Pongal 2024 in Singapore

There are plenty of ways kids can learn about the 2024 Pongal festival in Singapore. Start off with this fun Pongal crafting activity or visit the Indian Heritage Centre’s Pongal Open House to enjoy family-friendly cultural activities and fun workshops. IHC’s Pongal Open House usually takes place over two weekends – we are awaiting confirmation of the exact dates. In the meantime here are some highlights from last year:

Pongal 2023 Singapore - Kid-friendly activities at IHC
Image Credit: Indian Heritage Centre

IHC Kids’ Storytelling Sessions
Kids aged 4 and up are welcome to join Bommi and her grandmother to learn more about the traditions and significance of the Pongal festival, and the importance of the culture that’s being passed down from one generation to the next. The interactive storytelling session will also feature music and singalong sessions, and kiddos will get to make their own Pongal crafts to bring home.

When: TBC
Where: Indian Heritage Centre, 5 Campbell Lane, Singapore 209924
How much: TBC

Pongal 2023 Singapore - Kolam Activity
Image Credit: Indian Heritage Centre

Free Crafting Activities
Make your way through four different stations, each with a creative crafting activity for the whole family. Decorate cute Pongal pot pencil toppers and cow fridge magnets, or create kolam designs on a notebook with stamps. There will also be a pretty Pongal-themed backdrop for you to squeeze in a photo op.

When: TBC
Where: Indian Heritage Centre, 5 Campbell Lane, Singapore 209924
How much: TBC

Live Pottery Demonstration
Head down to IHC to watch a pottery artisan at work! The live demonstration includes little souvenirs from the craftsman too.

When: TBC
Where: Indian Heritage Centre, 5 Campbell Lane, Singapore 209924
How much: Free!

Pongal Festival
Image Credit: Indian Heritage Centre

Live Street Performances
The festivities will kick off with Thanthane, a folk dance by Omkar Arts, followed by a kolattam (stick dance) and a Harvest dance. The Omkar Arts performers will also perform a Pongal dance to the IHC theme song. The Damaru group will perform the traditional art of Indian drumming, accompanied by song, dancing and martial arts, while AKT Creations will showcase the beauty of Pongal through folk dances and an interactive session with the audience.

Pongal 2023 Singapore - Sakarai Pongal
Image Credit: Babithajcosta via Wikimedia Commons

Free Pongal Tasting
Wondering what pongal actually tastes like? Savour some at the Indian Heritage Centre, as they distribute free servings of cooked pongal. Available while stocks last.

When: TBC
Where: Indian Heritage Centre, 5 Campbell Lane, Singapore 209924
How much: Free!

Pongal Festival 2023
Image Credit: Indian Heritage Centre

IHC Little India Trail
Take a walk through history and learn about the cattle trade in Little India in the 1840s, how it ties into the Pongal festival and why cattle are so significant in celebrating Pongal. The trail ends at the Heritage Centre, where you’ll get to try a traditional craft activity which you can bring home.

When: TBC
Where: Indian Heritage Centre, 5 Campbell Lane, Singapore 209924

Pongal 2024, Indian Heritage Centre, 5 Campbell Lane, Singapore 209924,

Lead image from the Indian Heritage Centre.

more sassy mama

What's New

We're social

We're social

What we're up to and what inspires us