Enjoy an immersive Pongalo Pongal! weekend with the Indian Heritage Centre

Spend an immersive weekend till 17 January 2021with an exciting array of immersive cultural activities presented by Singapore’s Indian Heritage Centre (IHC) at its hybrid online and on-site Pongal Day Out. 

Discover Pongal and how it is celebrated in Singapore through a special interactive learning portal that allows everyone to enjoy the festivities and online activities that include a TikTok Pongal dance challenge if you prefer virtual activities from the comfort of your home. 

Singapore’s Indian Heritage Centre (IHC) çelebrates with a hybrid online and on-site Pongal Day Out.Photo Courtesy: IHC
Singapore’s Indian Heritage Centre (IHC) çelebrates with a hybrid online and on-site Pongal Day Out.Photo Courtesy: IHC

There are hands-on urban gardening and harvesting workshops and educational walks through bustling Campbell Lane if you would rather soak in the sights and sounds of the festival on the ground.  

There will also be an installation of this sustainable cow sculpture made of recycled car parts by Singaporean Tamil artist P Gnana Dickam outside IHC. The public will be able to view the display until 27 April 2021. 

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! 

There is something for everyone to explore this Pongal! 

Pongal is an important festival that commemorates the rice harvest and is celebrated by South Indian communities all over the world,  including in Singapore.  It 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. 

Here is the comprehensive list of activities brought to you by the Indian Heritage Centre (IHC), a heritage institution managed by the National Heritage Board (NHB) that traces the history of the South  Asian community in Singapore and Southeast Asia.

Online programmes

Pongalo Pongal!’ An Interactive Learning Portal 

  • Date: Available from 9 Jan 

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. 

Pongal Music Video & Tik Tok Dance Challenge  

  • Date: Available from 10 Jan  

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! 

On-site programmes

Pongal Planting Workshop 

  • Date: 16 January 2021 
  • Time: 11am and 2pm, 1.5 hours per session  
  • Venue: Indian Heritage Centre  
  • Programme capacity: 20 participants per session  

Discover how you can grow your own Indian herbs and vegetables at home in this workshop presented by Bollywood Adventures. 

Urban Planting Workshop as part of Pongal 2021 by Indian Heritage Centre, Singapore. Photos Courtesy: IHC
Urban Planting Workshop as part of Pongal 2021 by Indian Heritage Centre, Singapore. Photos Courtesy: IHC

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.  

Registration link: ihc-programmes.peatix.com

Pongal Hands-on Experience @ IHC 

  • Date: 12 to 15 January 2021 
  • Time: 6.30pm to 7.30pm daily  
  • Venue: Indian Heritage Centre 
  • Programme capacity: 20 participants per session  

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. 

Pongal Hands-on Experience at Indian Heritage Centre, Singapore as part of Pongal 2021. Photo Courtesy:  IHC
Pongal Hands-on Experience at Indian Heritage Centre, Singapore as part of Pongal 2021. Photo Courtesy: IHC

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! 

Registration link: ihc-programmes.peatix.com

Rites of Spring: Kranji Farm Tour  

  • Date: 17 January 2021 
  • Time: 10am and 4pm, 3 hours each session  
  • Venue: Kranji Countryside (Meeting point: Indian Heritage Centre) 
  • Programme capacity: 20 participants per session  

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.  

An immersive experience through Rites of Spring: Kranji Farm Tour as part of Indian Heritage Centre's Pongal 2021. Photo Courtesy: IHC/FB
An immersive experience through Rites of Spring: Kranji Farm Tour as part of Indian Heritage Centre's Pongal 2021. Photo Courtesy: IHC/FB

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.  

Registration link: ihc-programmes.peatix.com

For more information, visit IHC's website or IHC’s Facebook page.

Author
CtoI News Desk
CtoI News Desk – CtoI

Singapore-headquartered online media company targeting Indian Diaspora across Singapore, US, UK and Dubai. Connected to India covers developments around Indians abroad, informing, engaging and entertaining its audiences.

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