Malaysian-Indian villagers pamper animals as part of Ponggal celebrations

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Butterworth (Malaysia), Jan. 16 (ANI): Malaysian-Indian Tamil farmers bathed their cows and bulls and garlanded them with bells tied around their necks, as part of a centuries-old traditional Ponggal celebration.

"We want to pamper our cattle on this auspicious day. Apart from showering them with fruits and sugarcane, we will also feed them with ponggal rice (sweet rice cooked in milk)," The Star Online quoted P. Maria Louis as saying, referring to the Maatu Ponggal (cow worship) festival.

Ponggal, which literally means to "boil over", is to appreciate Mother Nature for providing mankind with grains, rice and other bounties.

It is a 5,000-year-old harvest festival celebrated by Tamil farmers in India.

Maria Louis, 53, joined his neighbours to clean their common cowshed and bathe the bulls, cows and calves before decorating the shed.

Then, they dipped their hands in sandhanam (turmeric paste) and colourful oil paint and started dabbing it on the animals.

P. Kuppamah, 47, said most of their animals were given names like Chellam, Rani, Diana, Saniswaran, Kali and Maha-letchumi.

T. Susila, 52, said Indian farmers and cowherds celebrate Mattu Ponggal to thank the cattle for ploughing their land and blessing them with milk.

Maatu Ponggal is celebrated on the third day of the four-day Ponggal celebration after Boghi Ponggal and Thai Ponggal (also known as Surya Ponggal).

The fourth day is known as Kanni Ponggal, which is a celebration for unmarried girls.(ANI)

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