Discover Pongal and how it is celebrated in Singapore with an exciting array of immersive cultural activities presented by Indian Heritage Centre at its hybrid online and on-site Pongal Day Out.
Where: Indian Heritage Centre
Date: 9 - 17 Jan 2021
Time: Various (details below)
Pongal is an important festival that commemorates the rice harvest, and is celebrated by South Indian communities all over the world, including in Singapore.
Pongal is observed in the 10th month of the Tamil calendar, known as Thai, which is considered the most auspicious month of the year. It marks a time of thanksgiving for both agricultural communities and non-farming ones like Singapore, and is derived from a Tamil word that means “to boil over”, signifying the abundance of blessings.
Pongal Day Out - When and What To Expect
From 9 - 17 Jan 2021, the Indian Heritage Centre (IHC) will be organising Pongal Day Out, a series of online and onsite activities to celebrate Pongal.
From hands-on urban gardening and harvesting workshops, to an educational walk through bustling Campbell Lane to soak in the sights and sounds of the festival; and online activities that include a TikTok Pongal dance challenge and a special interactive learning portal that allows everyone to enjoy the festivities from home, there is something for everyone to explore this Pongal!
Other highlights at IHC during this period include a Bingo Hunt beginning at the centre, which will take participants on a quest to complete special activities around Little India and the galleries, free limited-edition Pongal planting pots and seed packets when you visit IHC, and more!
More details of individual activities are provided below!
Pongal Planting Workshop
Date: 16 Jan 2021
Time: 11 am and 2 pm, 1.5hr per session
Sign Up (Capped at 20 participant per workshop)
Learn about the Pongal festival and its significance to farmers and rural communities, and how urban-dwellers can experience the essence of Pongal celebrations by growing your own plants and participating in the joy of harvesting.
Other highlights include an introduction to urban gardening, a hands-on potting session where you will be able to pot two plant types of your choice, an overview of plant care and harvesting techniques, and finally, a pot painting activity for you to unleash your creativity.
Pongal Hands-on Experience
Date: 12 - 15 Jan 2021
Time: 6.30 pm - 7.30 pm daily
Sign Up (Capped at 20 participant per experience)
The trail kicks off with a tour of the exhibits at IHC; followed by interactive live
demonstrations of how a kolam, a traditional floor drawing created with rice flour, is created; and how the traditional Indian decorative craft, the thoranam, is made using coconut leaves.
Next up is a Pongal Walk through bustling Campbell Lane, which will show the hustle and bustle of last-minute shopping, colourfully painted earthen pots used for the boiling of the traditional dish pongal, which consists of rice boiled in milk with jaggery, and rows of tall sugar cane stalks lined along the shops. You will also get to see how fresh turmeric and ginger stalks are used to decorate the Pongal pot.
Finally, catch the Pongal light-up along Serangoon road before heading back to IHC to learn how the traditional dish of pongal is prepared, and sample it for yourself to end the evening!
Rites of Spring: Kranji Farm Tour
Date: 17 Jan 2021
Time: 10 am and 4 pm, 3hrs per session
Venue: Kranji Countryside (Meeting Point: IHC)
Sign Up (Capped at 20 participants per tour)
Enjoy an immersive cultural farm experience away from the bustle of the city! Our farm tour experience includes a variety of live demonstrations, hands-on activities and mini-trails which will allow you to learn more about Pongal and its significance to the Indian community.
The journey begins with live cooking demonstrations of the traditional pongal dish! Get hands-on at the interactive stations where you can grind rice and other grains in a traditional stone grinder (attukallu), make your own festive thoranam decorations, and learn how to draw kolam floor art. End the journey with a soothing nature walk, where you will also learn about rice and millet varieties.
Pongalo Pongal! - An Interactive Learning Portal (Online)
Date: Available from 9 Jan
Targeted at students aged 10 to 14, this specially created microsite will expound on different aspects of Pongal, such as the traditions that take place over the four-day festival, traditional Indian folk dances, Pongal cuisine, and how the festival is celebrated in Singapore. Other highlights include a variety of craft activities for students to try anywhere, anytime.
Pongal Music Video & Tik Tok Dance Challenge (Online)
Date: Available from 10 Jan
Catch an exhilarating folk-dance performed to specially-composed music that captures the joy of a bountiful harvest. This music video features an ensemble of different dance groups who will be incorporating various folk dance styles such as poi kaal kuthirai, mayilaatam and karagaattam to launch the Pongal celebrations in Singapore!
Do also keep a lookout for a fun #ihcpongal TikTok dance challenge, and post a video showing off your slick dance moves to this catchy tune!
*Photo Credit: Indian Heritage Centre