The Indian Cultural Society (ICS) at BAC does a good job of honouring and presenting the Indian culture. They have in the past, organised various events and activities that promote the rich Indian traditions and heritage. Among them include Deepavali celebrations, International Women's Day showcasing Indian businesses owned by women, and celebrating Indian pride during Independence Day. This time, the ICS celebrated Ponggal with the rest of the campus!
Ponggal is a festival celebrated by the Tamil community to thank the Sun, Mother Nature and the farm animals for a bountiful harvest. This festival which falls on the first day of the Thai month in the Tamil calendar, is considered auspicious. The name is derived from the Tamil word pongu, which means to boil over.
Ponggal is celebrated across four days, and the ICS decided to honour surya ponggal, the second day of the celebration. The main event of this celebration is when a household cooks a pot of fresh rice with milk. As the milk boils over, the household yells Ponggalo Ponggal!
On 7th February, members of the club gathered on the ground floor, setting up pots in which they attendees would boil the rice. There was an air of excitement present as people slowly gathered around the area. Once all present were in their teams, they started boiling their milk, and receiving assistance from staff members to keep their fires going. To add to the fun, the process of boiling the milk was made into a competition! The first to achieve ponggal would be crowned as the winner!
As the milk were boiling in their respective pots, Mr. Raja Singham (Founder and Managing Director of BAC) visited the grounds, and said, "Happy to be here at the Ponggal celebration by the Indian Cultural Society. Although it's taking some time for the milk to boil over, I pray this Ponggal will bring our students a great harvest, or in their case, great exam results, great prosperity and happiness."
Once that was done, participants let the rice boil in the milk while taking a break to play some games. First off was a vadai eating competition, where participants had to race against each other to finish eating their given vadai. The plot twist? They weren't allowed to use their hands! While this was going on, there was also a pot painting competition, where teams of two were given free rein to paint the best looking pot.
The highlight of the game session was the pot-breaking game. Pots were hung from the balcony of the student hub, and blindfolded participants had to use a wooden rod to hit the pot! This brought out some funny moments from the participants.
Once the games were over, students sat down to eat the boiled rice, mixed with some spices for flavour. The celebration even captured the attention of some curious passers-by who wanted to know more about Ponggal! It was a time of unique community bonding between members, one that happens when celebrating culture.
Ms. Puvaneswary, Lecturer and Club Advisor shared her thoughts, "ICS decided to organise this event to infuse modern day attitude with traditional events. Distractions by gadgets are aplenty, not to mention the lack of togetherness in our community. Our activities were aimed to foster this through the fun games. We wanted to enhance emotions, deepen spirituality and to better the interpersonal relationships between students and staff alike.
If you have always wanted to participate in celebrating Indian culture or just want to know more, check out BAC's ICS Instagram page to join the club!