Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sweet memories

Ponggal is a huge celebration among university students in Malaysia. I used to be part of a community that had a series of events in conjunction to the festival. The first Sunday of the month will be the univ wide celebration in the wee hours of the morning which will be followed by a grand cultural night in a months time. I've also written on this before.

The morning celebration was dubbed Danau Ponggal as it is usually held at an open space in the reservation area in our Univ. We’re a super green university with wide land area. The thing that was special about the event was each college (our hostels were called college) had to build a pantal (tent) which was made of natural items, then they had to decorate the tent with religious or themed items, cook the ponggal the fastest, answer a quiz on the items used and why it was use, why certain items are used in hindu religion and take part in a few games. Every college participant must be dressed in traditional clothes, each member found not properly dressed will lose marks for the college team.

So the afternoon before the guys will go around the neighbourhood raiding farms and homes for banana trees, palm leaves, bamboo, mango leaves and anything else they can use to build humongous themed tents. Then everyone will join in to pitch time building the tent.

The next morning we’d dress up and get there with game plans. Each team member had a different assignment, building, serving, answering quizzes, cooking the rice and so on.

Ah the rice cooking had its own points, the fastest boiling of the milk, loudest screaming of ponggalo ponggal, and the best tasting one. Coz the ponggal might look like ponggal but it could always be uncooked. Also no artificial substance can be used to heat the flame nor slanting of pot was allowed– so we used to huff and puff to get the milk going.

We had loads of fun and my memory was jogged when I found these clips on youtube. We didn’t have dances then but I guess it’s a new addition, check out the tents at the back at the end of one of the videos ;)

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