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Indian Heritage Centre’s Pongal Day Out

(image: Indian Heritage Centre)
5 Campbell Ln
Singapore, 209924 Singapore
+ Google Map
January 9
January 17

Welcome the harvest festival of Pongal with a hearty “pongalo pongal!” (hail Pongal) festival at the Indian Heritage Centre (IHC) this January! Pongal is an important festival that commemorates the rice harvest, and is celebrated by South Indian communities all over the world, including in Singapore.

Pongal is observed in the 10th month of the Tamil calendar, known as Thai, which is considered the most auspicious month of the year. It marks a time of thanksgiving for both agricultural communities and non-farming ones like Singapore, and is derived from a Tamil word that means “to boil over”, signifying the abundance of blessings. Pongal is also the name of the sweet rice dish boiled in milk till it overflows, as an offering to Surya the Sun God for the festival.

Discover Pongal and how it is celebrated in Singapore with an exciting array of immersive cultural activities presented by IHC at its hybrid online and on-site Pongal Day Out from 9 to 17 January 2021. From hands-on urban gardening and harvesting workshops, to an educational walk through bustling Campbell Lane to soak in the sights and sounds of the festival; and online activities that include a TikTok Pongal dance challenge and a special interactive learning portal that allows everyone to enjoy the festivities from home, there is something for everyone to explore this Pongal!

Other highlights at IHC during this period include a Bingo Hunt beginning at the centre, which will take participants on a quest to complete special activities around Little India and the galleries, free limited-edition Pongal planting pots and seed packets when you visit IHC, and more!

Workshops + Events

1. Pongal Planting Workshop
Discover how you can grow your own Indian herbs and vegetables at home in this workshop presented by Bollywood Adventures. Learn about the Pongal festival and its significance to farmers and rural communities, and how urban-dwellers can experience the essence of Pongal celebrations by growing your own plants and participating in the joy of harvesting. Other highlights include an introduction to urban gardening, a hands-on potting session where you will be able to pot two plant types of your choice, an overview of plant care and harvesting techniques, and finally, a pot painting activity for you to unleash your creativity.

16 January 2021, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., 1.5 hours per session
Programme capacity: 20 participants per session

2. Pongal Hands-on Experience @ IHC
Embark on an educational journey and learn about harvest tradition basics through a variety of cultural activities and programmes available at the Indian Heritage Centre (IHC). The trail kicks off with a tour of the exhibits at IHC; followed by interactive live demonstrations of how a kolam, a traditional floor drawing created with rice flour, is created; and how the traditional Indian decorative craft, the thoranam, is made using coconut leaves.

Next up is a Pongal Walk through bustling Campbell Lane, which will show the hustle and bustle of last-minute shopping, colourfully painted earthen pots used for the boiling of the traditional dish pongal, which consists of rice boiled in milk with jaggery, and rows of tall sugar cane stalks lined along the shops. You will also get to see how fresh turmeric and ginger stalks are used to decorate the Pongal pot. Finally, catch the Pongal light-up along Serangoon road before heading back to IHC to learn how the traditional dish of pongal is prepared, and sample it for yourself to end the evening!

12 to 15 January 2021, 6.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. daily
Programme capacity: 20 participants per session

3. Rites of Spring: Kranji Farm Tour
Enjoy an immersive cultural farm experience away from the bustle of the city! Our farm tour experience includes a variety of live demonstrations, hands-on activities and mini- trails which will allow you to learn more about Pongal and its significance to the Indian community.

The journey begins with live cooking demonstrations of the traditional pongal dish! Get hands-on at the interactive stations where you can grind rice and other grains in a traditional stone grinder (attukallu), make your own festive thoranam decorations, and learn how to draw kolam floor art. End the journey with a soothing nature walk, where you will also learn about rice and millet varieties.

17 January 2021, 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., 3 hours each session
Venue: Kranji Countryside (Meeting point: Indian Heritage Centre)
Programme capacity: 20 participants per session

4. ‘Pongalo Pongal!’ An Interactive Learning Portal

Embark on an interactive learning experience with the Indian Heritage Centre, and enjoy an array of fun quizzes, engaging videos and craft activities to learn more about Pongal. Targeted at students aged 10 to 14, this specially created microsite will expound on different aspects of Pongal, such as the traditions that take place over the four-day festival, traditional Indian folk dances, Pongal cuisine, and how the festival is celebrated in Singapore. Other highlights include a variety of craft activities for students to try anywhere, anytime.

From 9 January 2021, online.

5. Pongal Music Video & Tik Tok Dance Challenge
Catch an exhilarating folk-dance performed to specially-composed music that captures the joy of a bountiful harvest. This music video features an ensemble of different dance groups who will be incorporating various folk dance styles such as poi kaal kuthirai, mayilaatam and karagaattam to launch the Pongal celebrations in Singapore! Do also keep a lookout for a fun #ihcpongal TikTok dance challenge, and post a video showing off your slick dance moves to this catchy tune!

From 10 January 2021, on IHC’s Facebook.

Indian Heritage Centre’s Pongal Day Out
9 – 17 January 2021
Register your participation with the link here.
Indian Heritage Centre, 5 Campbell Ln., 209924

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