Students from Sivakasi Nadars Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Ellis Nagar came together with the faculty to celebrate the festival.
“There are three interesting movies being shown on television on Pongal. I am yet to decide on which one to watch,” says R. Meera, a Class VII student.
Pongal celebrations, which meant get-together of family members, good cheer and bonhomie in the community is fast being replaced with television programmes and movie releases with convenience taking precedence over tradition.
Hence it was a pleasant surprise to see some of the schools and colleges taking the mantle of guardians of Tamil traditions. On Friday, many schools and colleges set the festival mood in motion by making sweet Pongal and ‘Ven Pongal’ in pots.
Students from Sivakasi Nadars Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Ellis Nagar came together with the faculty to celebrate the festival. Both the varieties of Pongal were cooked in colourful pots placed over wood fire. The cooked Pongal was served to the students and was also taken to orphanages and old age homes. “Many city children don’t realise the significance of traditional practices. We are trying to make them aware of those aspects and in the process inculcate the importance of sharing,” says Principal V. Devasena.
The students said looked forward to Pongal celebrations every year. “We bring the ingredients from home. Students from many classes get to interact with each other and it’s lot of fun,” said J. Priya Dharsinee of Class 10.Saris and dhotis
Bright saris and dhotis with silk shirts were donned by students of Sentamizh College who celebrated Pongal on Friday.
For the third consecutive year, Madura College scheduled the day-long festivities for Saturday. “A traditional festival such as this will wean youngsters away from their electronic gadgets. Pongal is all about our rich tradition and joining together for celebration,” explains Principal R. Murali.
The college plans to conduct traditional games and folk performances such as ‘karagattam,’ ‘oyilattam,’ ‘thappattam,’ ‘mayilattam’ and ‘silambattam’ during its Pongal celebrations.
Many schools had cultural programmes lined up with folk dances and traditional performances put up by students. Bethsan Special School at Sikkandarchavadi conducted traditional games. The school was transformed to resemble a rural village, decorated cow and the works.
“Even in other places where such games are held, these children often don’t get an opportunity to participate. So we organised a host of games for them. And they participated in them enthusiastically,” said school coordinator A. Jeyapal.