Chennai – The month of January remains ever-special and unique for many, in particular for farmers because it is the month where the state gratefully thanks all the farmers. It is the day of celebration of harvest known as Pongal in Tamilnadu. This is the three-day celebration where each day has its significance and history to be felicitated. On January 17th, Don Guanella Major Seminary celebrated the feast by cooking Pongal, and gratefully recalling the hard work done by the farmers who cultivate crops for the nation. The sweet Pongal is a symbol of happiness to sustain life and sugar cane to have a life of success. The Holy Eucharist was celebrated by Fr. Samson and he highlighted the importance of Pongal. He invited the brothers to gratefully thank the farmers and pray for them for their support and care towards the world population. During the homily Dn. C. Jesu Doss highlighted the importance and hard work of farmers and urged everyone not to forget the farmers after the celebration of Pongal but to remember and pray for them always. The day continued by playing traditional games of the local culture.
Cuddalore – A remarkable Pongal celebration was celebrated including paddy harvesting on January 11th at St. Joseph’s Seminary. It was truly a thanksgiving feast as we reaped the paddy and celebrated the Tamilan’s feast. The St. Joseph’s Seminary confreres and staff toiled to gather the harvest from the fields. Holy Mass was also celebrated for the welfare of all the farmers in Tamilnadu. We shared the precious Pongal feast with one another, increasing the joy and excitement. Afterwards, everyone tasted sugarcane and entered the fields to collect the paddy bundles one by one. As Jesus says, “The harvest is plenty but the laborers are few,” was well understood on that day. By the grace of God we collected about 40 sacks of rice for the pantry. We truly thanked the Lord for His abundant blessings and graces showered upon us.
Kulithurai – Once each year we express our gratitude for the season of harvest that is a boon for the farmers. That evening the celebration began at the substation Kattuvilai. People showed their gratitude by offering cooked rice to the Almighty and distributing it among the people. Though we live in urban areas we celebrated with the same enthusiasm. In a time of video games and gadgets we have almost forgotten traditional games, in order to keep the games alive, we conducted traditional games at Cherukol Karumputhottam parish and awarded the winners.
Chennai – A traditional feast that has been celebrated throughout the centuries in India is Ayudha Pooja, (Feast of Thanksgiving). On October 22nd, the fathers and brothers of the community cleaned all the tools used for garden work, for tilling and cultivating the land, and for harvesting purposes. All of the two and four wheel vehicles were also cleaned. Fr. Samson, local superior, prayed and thanked the Lord for giving us good strength, land to work and fruits of the earth to enjoy. After the short prayer concluded, brothers took all the vehicles for a ride. It was a time of joy and thanking God for His care and concern in the life of farmers who completely depend upon farming to sustain their families. The feast also reminds us that everything we use must be given respect and care.
Cuddalore – “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for His harvest.” (Lk 10:2). It was with joy the priests and seminarians of St. Joseph’s Seminary offered a fruitful and beneficial harvest out of their hard labor of cultivating the farms with paddy and other vegetables. As our holy founder St. Guanella said, “Pray and Suffer” for a holy way of living. The young seminarians, with due formation and holy ascetic experience through this labor, enthusiastically contributed their energy for the community. This further developed their sense of belonging and family spirit in the congregation. As God blessed the harvest in fruitfulness, He also blessed these servants with greater virtues and values. All praise be to God!
Bangalore – Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated in India at the end of the harvest season. It is one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Tamil people in Tamil Nadu. In Tamil, the word Pongal means “overflowing” which signifies abundance and prosperity. It is the celebration of the farmers in order to thank God for the fruitful harvest of the year. Besides God they also thank the sun and the bulls who worked the crops. On the day of Pongal, at sunrise, there is a symbolic ritual of boiling fresh milk in new clay pots. When the milk boils over and bubbles out of the vessel, people shout, “Pongalo Pongal!” Joining with the farmers of the state, Guanella Preethi Nivas also celebrated Pongal on January 15th by thanking God for the fruitful results of all our works. In the morning as one family, Oratory children, the fathers, brothers, beloved grandpas, lay people and staff celebrated Pongal. With grateful hearts the community gathered before the Lord and offered Holy Mass; praying for farmers and workers all over the world. Later there was a volleyball match between the brothers and everyone enjoyed eating the Pongal rice, black sugar cane and other Pongal specialties. The celebration came to an end with the final blessing of the Administrator, Fr. A.P. Samy.
Cuddalore – Recalling these words of the Bible, the seminarians of St. Joseph Seminary worked hard to prove it. By the grace of God and His mercy, and much hard work the harvest was bountiful. On October 13th all the confreres contributed according to their capacity; joyful at receiving the fruits as a gift from God. Remembering the words of the Bible, “The laborer deserves his food,” these servants of God received rice for their needs. Because nothing is possible without Him who guides us in our daily lives, thanks is given to God through our prayer.