South Indian community celebrates harvest festival.
The festival of Pongal was celebrated in Doha in an elaborate way by a group of families from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, under the banner of Doha Family. A special festive menu was prepared by women and the food was served in the traditional manner - on banana leafs Indian Experience | Santhosh Chandran The South Indian community in Qatar celebrated Pongal - the four-day harvest festival popular in the southern states of India. The festival was celebrated in Doha in an elaborate way by a group of families from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, under the banner of Doha Family. Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu, a southern state of India. This festival of thanksgiving to nature takes its name from the Tamil word meaning "to boil" and is held in the month of Thai (January-February). During the season, rice and other cereals, sugar-cane, and turmeric (an essential ingredient in Tamil cooking) are harvested. Pongal falls typically on January 14 or 15. Doha Family, initiated by Venkatesh along with his family and friends, made elaborate arrangements in their backyard to celebrate the festival with the traditional fervour. The women members of the forum were dressed in traditional silk sarees, while the men were attired in the traditional silk dhoti and shirt. The sweet dish was prepared using the traditional firewood oven. Women gathered around the oven and performed the dance called 'Kummi Attam'. A special festive menu was prepared by women and the food was served in the traditional manner - on a banana leaf. According to Tamil tradition, the first day is celebrated as Bhogi festival, when useless household articles are thrown into a fire made of wood and cow-dung cakes. Girls dance around the bonfire, singing songs welcoming the Spring season and praising farmers and cattle. On the second day of Pongal, new harvested rice is boiled outdoors in milk in an earthen pot. People wear traditional clothes and a turmeric plant is tied around the pot in which the rice is boiled. The offering includes two sticks of sugar cane, coconut and bananas in a dish. A common feature, in addition to the offerings, is the kolam, the auspicious design which is traditionally traced in white lime powder before the house early in the morning on the day. On the third day, known as Mattu Pongal, the day of Pongal for cows, multicoloured beads, tinkling bells, sheaves of corn and flower garlands are tied around the neck of the cattle. This is done to express gratitude towards the cattle which are used for ploughing the fields and producing food. The fourth day is known as Kannum Pongal. On this day, family members get together to rejoice and strengthen the family bonds, seeking the blessings of the Almighty for peace and prosperity.
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