LIVING WITH NATURE PART-II

  MATTU PONGAL  

Thanksgiving is the greatest gesture shown by every human being. This is about a farmyard festival to thank the nature for our existence and show respect  to other creatures which help us during  their existence.

Let us go to a country side, far away from the concrete jungle of the modern life style. A fresh breath of air, a sight of green-nature’s most beautiful colors, the glistening flow of water streams, the sounds of music from birds and animals, the special life that will make us  feel every cell in our body rejenovate. You can’t even imagine a life without animals there.
In some parts of India we have  a festival exclusively to thank the fellow farm animals. It is part of a festival called MATTU PONGAL that  falls on the 16th of January every year, interestingly celebrated for four days, with every reason.
The first day to get rid of useless household articles which are thrown into a fire made of wood and cow-dung cakes. Girls dance around the bonfire, singing songs in praise of the gods, the spring and the harvest. The significance of the bonfire, in which is burnt the agricultural wastes and firewood is to keep warm during the last lap of winter.
On the second day to thank nature , an act of ceremonial worship is performed when rice is boiled in milk outdoors in a earthenware pot and is then symbolically offered to the Sun-God along with other oblations. 
The third day of Pongal is dedicated to farm animal and is called Mattu Pongal. People offer prayers to the bulls, cows and other farm animals. Cows and bulls have always held a special place in India. Cows give nourishing milk while bulls and oxen help plough the fields. Thus, is a day when cattle are given a well-deserved day of rest and are given pride of place. During the day, The cattle are washed, their horns are painted and covered with shining metal caps. Multi-colored beads, tinkling bells, sheaves of corn and flower garlands are tied around their necks. They are fed with Pongal, the special food and taken to the village centers. Devotees pay their respect to cows by bending down, like praying in temple. The farmers honor their cattle friends by celebrating it as a day of thanks-giving to them.
The fourth day the women, young and old assemble in the courtyard, perform prayers for kith and kins and meet their brothers, sisters and friends to respect the bond.
A common feature of the prayers, in addition to the offerings, is the KOLAM,   auspicious designs which the women make very day in the soil with rice powders before the entrance of their house in the early morning after bathing .The rice powders is to meant to feed and respect existence of fellow creature like the non-biting black ants.
Animals, sacrifice and serve themselves to mankind. Thanksgiving is the greatest gesture shown by every human being.

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