Tamil Nadu celebrated Pongal with traditional fervour with people getting up early, donning new clothes and visiting temples though the festival is missing the traditional bull taming sport ‘Jallikattu’. Varous Parts of the state pitches to restore the sport but no headway in the Supreme Court proceedings results in creating protests and chaos this time around….reports Asian Lite News
The festival of Pongal is celebrated to thank the Sun, rain and farm animals.
In the homes, the aroma of ghee-fried cashews, almonds and cardamom wafted through as the traditional dish of rice, jaggery and moong daal was made.
As the ingredients of Chakarai Pongal boiled in milk, people called out “Pongolo Pongal, Pongolo Pongal”.
As per tradition the dish is cooked under the open skies. In cities some do that even today. In majority of the homes the dish is cooked in the kitchen and the Sun god is offered the Pongal as thanks giving and eaten as ‘prasad’.
In villages the sweet pongal is still cooked on the open ground.
The mud pot or stainless steel in which the dish is cooked is decorated by tying up ginger, turmeric, sugarcane piece and banana around the neck.
It is made at an auspicious time and in some homes conches are blown prior to the formal offering.
People exchanged greetings and Chakarai Pongal with their neighbours.
Meanwhile in a brazen defiance of the Supreme Court, Tamil Nadu politicians have come out in support of Jallikattu, encouraging people to join the traditional bull taming sport.
Jallikattu has been held in at least 10 places, although on a smaller scale, with the authorities mainly looking the other way, reports reaching Chennai said.
On Friday, it was held at Kalathangal near Madurai, drawing a large number of tourists, foreigners included.
Police on Friday broke up structures set up by Jallikattu organisers at one place and dispersed those gathered there.
But three MLAs present at the site warned that people would defy ban order and take part in Jallikattu.
Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam has already declared that the event would be held this year.
An AIADMK leader who did not want to be named said people would be happy if Jallikattu, a part of the Pongal tradition, was organised — as it used to happen in earlier years.
At the Marina beach in Chennai, hundreds of college students formed a human chain demanding the lifting of the ban on Jallikattu.
Several organisations have plans to organise Jallikattu events during the three-day Pongal festival starting on Saturday.
The Supreme Court has ruled out giving a ruling on an appeal against the ban on Jallikattu before Pongal, effectively banning the whole sport which involves young men attempting to “tame” a running bull — briefly.
Naam Tamizhar Katchi, a fringe Tamil outfit, held a Jallikattu event on Thursday at Cuddalore and gave away prizes to the winners. About 35 people were later taken into custody.
Some Tamil Nadu parties have urged the central government to issue an ordinance to overrule the Supreme Court ban on Jallikattu.
Protests against the ban have been reported from parts of Tamil Nadu.
In the last two years, the state government and police foiled Jallikattu in keeping with the apex court ban.
But now, political parties themselves have come out strongly in favour of the traditional sport.
Meanwhile, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) have urged President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to issue any ordinance to allow Jallikattu.
PETA has also asked Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan and police chief Ashok Kumar to prevent any breach or violation of the law and prevent contempt of court.
“Why should we support the abuse of bulls?” PETA asked.
Superstar Rajinikanth on Friday extended his support for Jallikattu, the popular and ancient bull-taming sport, played usually around Pongal festival in Tamil Nadu. He said it must be held as it is part of Tamil culture.
Last year, Supreme Court banned Jallikattu, earning the wrath of its supporters and well-wishers.
Speaking at Vikatan Film Awards, Rajinikanth told reporters here: “Bring in whatever rules but Jallikattu must be held to keep up the traditions of our Tamil culture.”
At the event, Rajinikanth was awarded best actor for his performance as an ageing don in last year’s Tamil blockbuster “Kabali”.
Currently busy shooting for Tamil science-fiction action “2.o”, the 65-year-old will next team up with “Kabali” director again.
The Pongal festivities take place for over four days, the first day being Bhogi, which was on Friday. On this day people burn their old clothes, mats and other items. New paints are applied on the houses.
The second day is the main Pongal festival celebrated on the first day of the Tamil month Thai, that is on Saturday.
The third day is the Mattu Pongal when bulls and cows are bathed and their horns painted and worshipped as they play an important role in farms.
Women feed the birds with coloured rice and pray for the welfare of their brothers.
The fourth day is the Kannum Pongal — the day to go out and meet relatives and friends, and go sight seeing.
Tamil Nadu Governor C.H. Vidyasagar Rao, Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and other leaders extended Pongal greetings to the people.