Aimed at imparting culture and tradition, Ireland Murugan Temple recently hosted the Thai Pongal Festival at their base in Monksland.
A festival which is dedicated to the harvest and sun, more than two hundred persons travelled to Monksland to participate in the occasion offering thanks for a bountiful crop harvest.
On the day of the festival, devotees wake up early to bathe and worship the Hindu Sun God — Surya. The following day is Mattu Pongal, which is dedicated to farm animals like cows and bulls who help farmers successfully raise and harvest crops.
The Pongal main dish to celebrate the Thai Pongal is sweet rice, and its preparation is one of the highlights of the festival. Pongal is a dish made boiling rice with milk, jaggery, raisins and other spices, traditionally made in earthenware pots over a wooden fire.
One of the most important aspects of Thai Pongal is the Kolam, which is a traditional design drawn by hand at the entrances of the houses. It is a design made of rice flour and other elements, and is usually drawn early in the morning of Thai Pongal. When the meal is ready it is first put on a banana leaf and the family pray to thank the Hindu Sun God.
During the event a group of young Temple members performed the Bharatanatyam dance and sang Carnatic music songs as well. This event was a great opportunity for all the members to stay connected with the community and share our understandings of festive traditions and culture.
Ireland Murugan Temple is a non-profit organisation with charitable status. For more information on the Murugan Temple and the services offered, please visit www.murugan.ie or check out the Facebook page. Hours of worship are each Saturday evening from 5pm to 7pm.