Pongal - celebrating an abundant harvest

ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Dancers performing at a celebration of the Hindu harvest festival Pongal in Punggol Community Centre yesterday.

The four-day festival is traditionally held to give thanks for an abundant rice harvest, and is marked by the symbolic act of boiling rice and milk in a new clay pot till it overflows.

At yesterday's celebration, Minister for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran took part in a thanksgiving prayer.

He also helped to fill a kolam - an intricate floor pattern made with coloured rice flour or other powders.

Some 500 residents from the Bedok Reservoir-Punggol area took part in the celebration, which included a demonstration of silambam - a weapon-based martial art from Tamil Nadu - and a short skit by local group Hougang Blossoms, detailing the importance and history of Pongal.

There were also kampung games such as hopscotch and an exhibition on festivals of Singapore.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 23, 2017, with the headline 'Pongal - celebrating an abundant harvest'. Print Edition | Subscribe