Pongal Harvest Festival
One recent night as I was walking home through Little India, I stumbled upon a Hindu harvest festival from southern India called Pongal. Running in mid-January this year, Pongal is a festival of thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest of rice and other grains, sugar cane, and tumeric.
A large crowd had gathered in front of the stage to see tonight's entertainment—the dancers, especially, were fantastic. Following the dancers came singers, no doubt performing popular duets from Tamil movies. At the opposite end of the marquis, some very pretty, dolled-up cows and baby goats were on display, and the entire side street off Serangoon Road next to the stage area was filled with vendors selling fruit, flowers, and trinkets for the festival. Some spectators had white powder (called Vibudhi) smeared on their foreheads—they'd received it in the temple as a blessing.
Happening upon festivals celebrated by Singapore's diverse population is one of the wonderful things about living here.