While the entire State is gearing up for Pongal celebrations with the Bhogi on Friday, Singlipatti village in the district on Tiruchengode Road, seven km from the District Collectorate, has not celebrated the festival for more than a century.
A visit to the village with a population of around 1140 people gave a deserted look on Friday with no clue of any festivities even when the nearby villages Puthur, Aniyar and Maaranayakanpatti were filled with the festive spirit. Most of the adults of the village are agricultural coolies while a very small population is involved in cultivating groundnut and corn.
Singlipatti Panchayat president P. Shanmugam (46) claims that he is a fourth generation resident of the village that has not celebrated Pongal.
“The reason for people of this village to boycott the main festival of Tamil Nadu is history,” he says. It is said that till about little more than 100 years ago the villagers celebrated the festival with pomp and joy.
Once when the forefathers of the village made Pongal in a public place near the village temple a dog reportedly ate the specially cooked food that was produced before the idol.
Difference of opinion arose between the people on celebrating the festival as few considered that the dog has spoilt the sanctity of the temple and the festival as well.
A section of the villagers did not take part in the festival the following year but few people who did not take the yesteryear's incident seriously made Pongal, but it is believed that it resulted in sudden illness and death of cattle.
While the fate of the dog remains unknown, villagers have, thereafter, refrained from celebrating the festival.
We know that in the 21st century there is no room for such taboos but we still don't want to take a chance or go against the practice of our ancestors, they carefully added.
According to them very few of them cook sweet pongal in their homes and make it a family affair. But nobody dares to make it in public places.
Interestingly, residents of the village who have settled in other towns and villages also don't celebrate the festival.
Paapa (81) from a village near Namakkal who got married to a person of this village about five decades ago noted that she was initially unhappy that the village does not celebrate Pongal but has now got accustomed to the local practice.
Rasugounder (77) said that the village with Hindus sharing a majority of the population however celebrates other festivals such as Deepavali, Maariamaan and Maduraiveeran temple festivals.
It is said that people of Naikadi pudur (a nearby village) also don't celebrate Pongal due to a similar incident.