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NETS Pongal Celebration - 2015

Kamal Gnanadesikan

Every ancient culture of this world had a way to celebrate and thank nature for its abundance. Pongal is a festival celebrated by the people of Tamil ethnicity, to thank nature for supporting their well-being and livelihood. This non-religious harvest festival is celebrated on the first of the Tamil month “Thai”.

New England Tamil Sangam (NETS) celebrated its Pongal festival of 2015 with grandeur at Littleton High School, this March 7th of 2015. While nature posed a big challenge with continuous snow storms, the Tamil people of New England along with their NETS executive committee and its sponsors, beat all the odds and conducted an enjoyable Pongal festival with a sequence of colorful events. In fact, people of various linguistic origins of India were part of this celebration.

The event started at 2:45 p.m. with “Salutation to mother Tamil”. It progressed with a continuous sequence of colorful events for a little more than 6 hours with a very short break. While the entrance of the venue was decorated with many colorful stalls of the sponsors, jewellery shops and snack bar etc… the stage of the auditorium was beautifully decorated with nice back-drops and scenarios depicting a village, Pongal pot, sugar canes and cattle, etc… The other end of the auditorium had the audio and lighting control consoles.

The first event was by the emcees themselves who played a conversation to explain the Pongal festival and its significance. It was followed by the NETS president’s welcome address to the audience. Following this was a string of 46 non-stop entertaining performances by 300+ participants that was well received with cheering applause by audience. The most notable ones were the Tamil folk dances with “Kummi” and the all time favorite of “Kurathi dances” that gained a big round of applause. The same was the case with an Indian patriotic song and dance. There were classical “Bharatha natyam“performances that elevated the aura to elegance. Singers who sang from movies, classical and old nostalgic songs delighted the audience with their talent. Teams who staged dramas with themes like the “Saivite quartets” and “The Pongal and Farmers” displayed significant performances. Apart from these, who would not like dances for catchy tunes from Tamil movies performed by various different teams across all age groups, from grownups to cute tiny tots? Overall it was a feast for eyes and ears.

Well, it doesn’t end there. All the participants were awarded with nice looking trophies that created memorable photographic moments for many, while it certainly made children’s faces gleaming. The final thank you note rightfully thanked people, participants and sponsors without whom these celebrations are not possible. No festival ends without a feast. So is the “Pongal Vizha” too. “Madras Grill” brought the delicious food for dinner that was served to the larger audience by NETS volunteers. With that nice dinner, ended a fun-filled evening of Pongal festival. These moments are past us now, but the festivity still continues… Yes, I see the planning for “Chithirai Vizha” in incubation for this May. Watch out for it…

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