The auspicious days of festivities remaining the same, the different names, rituals and cultures brought alive the campus of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) during the ongoing 18th National Youth Festival.
While the students from eastern and southern states witnessed Lohri celebrations of Punjab for the first time, it was Tamil Nadhu’s prime festival Pongal which was celebrated with great enthusiasm on Tuesday.
On Monday, a special Lohri night was organised for the youth fest participants at the open air theatre of PAU, marked by bonfire and Punjabi dances Bhangra and Giddha. The students from the north-east and southern states were seen enjoying the festival and dancing around the bonfire.
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Eatables like gajhak, rewri, bhugga, meant especially for Lohri, were also distributed. Talking to Newsline, Nitin N from the Kerala contingent said, “The weather is never this cold in Kerala. We never light bonfires. Here I saw for the first time how a bonfire was part part of celebrations. It was really nice.”
Another cultural mix was witnessed on Tuesday when the campus of PAU witnessed the rituals and celebrations of Pongal for the first time. Pongal, the festival of Tamil Nadu, is celebrated on the same day as Makkar Sankranti in Punjab.
The contingent from Tamil Nadu prepared sweet rice in traditional earthen pots on bonfire, followed by worshipping the Sun god and distributing rice among all present at the food festival pandal. R Natarajan from Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangatthan, Tamil Nadu, told Newsline, “Pongal is an important festival for us and it is celebrated with great enthusiasm. We prepare sweet rice, which is served with sugarcane. It marks the beginning of the harvesting season. We are happy that Punjab witnessed our festivities too.”
“The rice prepared is brought directly from the fields. The next day to Pongal is Mattu Pongal, in which cows are worshipped. The day next to Mattu Pongal is called Kaanum Pongal, in which all children and newly weds take the blessings of their elders. Elders give them token money as blessings,” said G Chunnaparaj, a folk artist from Tamil Nadu said.
Shilpa Sharma from Ludhiana, who attended the celebrations of Pongal said, “I relished the sweet rice and they were prepared with jaggery, the way we do in Punjab. Only names are different, celebrations are the same. It was an enriching experience.”