Cuddalore – St. Joseph’s Evening School celebrated the Pongal feast and Republic day on January 26th. Children from four different branches gathered for the fruitful and memorable event. All the children had very joyful moments throughout the day. There were around 120 together with the children, teachers and parents. The national flag was hoisted by Fr. Mathias, SdC, chief guest of the day. Afterwards he encouraged the children to always be happy, kind hearted and talented persons in their accomplishments and to aim for a bright future. Then the Pongal Celebration started. Games and sports were organized for the students, teachers and parents like pot breaking, rongoli for parents, musical chairs and many other competitions for the children. Then children from each branch presented their programs. Fr. Mathias, Fr. Anandhan and Fr. Amalraj distributed gifts for all the ninety students. Then they also distributed prizes for the winners of different competitions. Finally, Fr. Arockia Raj, the evening school director, thanked the gathering and encouraged the new branch students and teachers to make use of the opportunity for a better future. At the end, everyone enjoyed the sweet Pongal, sugarcane, tea and puffs. Thus the day went on happily and successfully.
Chennai – On January 15th Don Guanella Evening School celebrated Pongal, a festival that is very popular in Tamil culture. This harvest festival unites all people. The teachers prepared them to celebrate the Pongal with traditional cultural programs. The students were very happy in their colorful dresses of Tamil Culture and eager to express their talents in celebration of Pongal. All the traditional preparations were made: colorful Kolam, the decorated pot for the pongal meal and sugarcane sticks beside the pot brought forth the neutrality of the festival. Fr. Ronald, Provincial Superior, Dn. Paul Dhinakaran and the chief guest Fr. Adaikalam were presented for the event. Fr. Ronald began with a prayer, blessed the Pongal meal and it was distributed to all in a traditional way. The cultural programs of the children were performed very well, gladdening everyone’s heart. Prizes were distributed by Fr. Adaikalam to the winners of the event. His speech was very inspiring and the event was ended with a final prayer.
MYSORE – A long awaited celebration at the evening school took place on January 14th to encourage school going children who frequent Don Guanella Evening School in Harohalli. All the villagers and the panchayat leaders were invited for this simple New Year and Pongal celebration. The program began with a prayer song and followed by a variety of cultural and traditional amusements presented by the children. The celebration was really an opportunity for them to exhibit their talents. Parents were happy to see their kids performing dances, skits and singing. To encourage the children, gifts were distributed. Fathers were honored with a small gift for their service. The teachers who help the kids in their academic career were also honored. The Pongal feast ended with a dance performance by the brothers and evening school kids.
Chennai – The Tamil festival of harvest, Pongal, was celebrated at Don Guanella Special School on January 12th infused with Indian culture and tradition. On this special day, the entire DGSS community celebrated Pongal by sharing Indian traditions. The children participated in the program with their parents. The staff and children dressed up in dhoti and saree creating a complete festive mood on campus. The celebration began with traditional games and competitions for the parents. Then some traditional games like pot breaking, musical chairs and Rongoli competition were organized for the children. Traditional dances were performed and singing resounded. The program ended with a thanksgiving prayer. God, nature and all those who helped organize the festive were recognized and thanked in a meaningful way.
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.
Kulithurai – The dance competition held in the parish is not just about trophies. It is highly rewarding and a worthwhile activity to make youth take part in the liturgy. Our neighboring parish Swamiyarmadam celebrated their annual feast, and on the 8th day of the feast the youth of the parish conducted dance competition. Our youth participated and won first prize, RS 10000. To double their joy we arranged a tour to Ramesahwaram during Pongal holidays.
Vadapatti – On January 15th the Pongal feast was celebrated at St. John de Britto Church. That morning the Pongal was cooked by the parishioners and the Pongal ceremony was blessed by Fr. Vanathaiyan SdC, and Pongal holy Mass was celebrated. Pongal special games were played for everyone on the parish campus, many people actively participated. The whole event went well with games, yoga, and various competitions for the various age groups of people. Prizes were distributed for the winners of the games. The chief guest of the program was Fr. S. Periya Nayagam, SdC the parish priest and Mr. Ignatius. The following day Pongal was celebrated at St. Paul’s Boys Home, Krishnaperi. Pongal Holy Mass was celebrated by Fr. Vanathaiyan SdC in the morning and then according to class, the games were conducted for the boys. The boys very actively and enthusiastically played all the games. At the end Fr. J. David, SdC, Director, distributed prizes to the students. The boys were encouraged and elated by the programs.
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.
Bangalore – Pongal Festival is an expression of thanksgiving to nature and God. The Guanella Preethi Nivas community fathers, brothers, sisters and the oratory children were so happy to celebrate this festival on January 14th. The staff and children dressed up in dhoti and saree creating a complete festive mood on the campus. The celebration began with traditional games and a cooking competition. The children were divided into three groups, provided with rice and ingredients to prepare the traditional food in an earthen pot. While the food was cooking, the children enjoyed games like tug-of-war, sack race and sugarcane eating. The highlight of this celebration was Rangoli. The groups presented massive, colorful works of art that were judged by the chief guests, GLM members Mr. Chinnaraj and Mrs. Shanthi Mary. Everyone was astounded by their creative and innovative Rangoli. When the Pongal was ready the crowd cried out, “pongalo pongal!” Fr. Ganaraj tasted each pongal and appreciated the groups who prepared it. Afterwards it was distributed among the children who went home with warm, sweet pongal and happy memories.