Saturday, January 19, 2013

“Gopooja” is celebrated to express thanks to cows on Maattu Pongal day.

Cow Pongal celebrations;Hugues decorates a cow

Maattu Pongal (Cow Pongal) was celebrated in Sirugamani Gosala by SEVAI, with traditional fervour, with villagers offering poojas to cows, on Wednesday. The “Gopooja” is conventionally held to express thanks to the cattle that worked along with the farmers for their welfare and helped in reaping a fine harvest through their contributions. People offered prayers to the cows and their calves. Cows have always held a special place in India. Cows give nourishing milk. Maatu Pongal is a day when cattle are given a well deserved day of rest and are given pride of place. The farmers honor their cattle friends by celebrating it as a day of thanks-giving to them. On this day the cows were washed; their horns are painted. Multi-colored beads, and flower garlands are tied around their necks. They were fed with Pongal and taken to the village centres. Devotees paid their respect to cows by bending down, like praying in temple, and touching their feet and foreheads, followed by an aarthi (showing fire to the object of praise) and offering the cattle prasadam (food offering, in this case, Pongal). Pongal is a harvest festival, a traditional occasion for giving thanks to nature, for celebrating the life cycles that give us grain. Tamilians say 'Thai pirandhaal vazhi pirakkum', and believe that knotty family problems will be solved with the advent of the Tamil month Thai that begins on Pongal day. This is traditionally the month of weddings.Hugues; a French volunteer of cow project in SEVAI-OFI also decorated the cows joining the cow farmers -Govin

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