PRIME MINISTER RELEASES COMMEMORATIVE POSTAGE STAMP ON PONGAL
The Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh released a commemorative postage stamp on Pongal here today in the presence of Shri Dayanidhi Maran, Minister for Communications and Information Technology , Dr Shakeel Ahmad, Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology and several other Cabinet Ministers.
Shri Vijay Tamil Film Actor received the First Stamp from the Prime Minister after its release. The stamp in denomination of Rs. Five is brought out by the Department of Posts. Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said that Pongal is an ancient harvest festival that celebrates the toil of our farmers and hopes for the well being of our people. He stated that in many parts of our vast sub-continent , people come together through such festivals , cutting across ethnic , linguistic, religious and other boundaries.
He further said that Our government is deeply and sincerely committed to the welfare and well being of our farmers , workers and of all those who are engaged in building an India of our dreams. The Prime Minister said ” I do believe that by the end of our tenure in office we will create a new environment of economic security and prosperity for our farmers and all those engaged in productive activity. This requires new investment in rural areas . New investment in irrigation , in rural roads, in power and communications, in education and health, in housing , in marketing and in transportation.”
He stated that ” if we really want to help the poor we must shift the emphasis away from subsides to encouraging social security . We need new ways of thinking about old problems” The Prime Minister also extended greetings to citizens on the happy.Speaking on the occasion, Shri Dayanidhi Maran said the festivities of Pongal mark re-affirmation of traditional values revolving around family and sharing. This stamp captures this spirit of festivity in pictorial form.
With this release of stamp, the Department of Posts honours the cultural traditions of our country and shares the happy festivities of the Tamil diaspora and many others, he added.Pongal, one of the most important festivals, particular of the Tamil people, is a thanksgiving ritual for a bountiful harvest which is celebrated with great joy by one and all. This festival follows a solar calendar and is celebrated on the same day each year.
The actual festivities of Pongal begin on 13th January and lasts for four days. From an astronomical standpoint, this is an important period because this is the time when the sun enters the Northern Hemisphere. The sun traverses from the Tropic of Capricorn to the Tropic of Cancer via the Equator from 14th January to 14th July, and this movement is termed as Uttarayan (summer solstice). The festival also marks the withdrawal of the North East Monsoons.
The first day of the Pongal festival is called Bhogi. The second day is `Pongal’, the most important day, when great importance is given to the Sun. In the early morning, the family members gather outside their houses and cooks sweet rice, known as `Pongal’, in clay pots. The overflowing pot is perceived as an auspicious sign of abundance and prosperity and excites the people to rise a chorus `Pongal O Pongal’. The celebration of `Makar Sankranti’ in other parts of India coincides with Pongal. The third day is dedicated to cattle and is called Mattu Pongal. The cattle are gaily decorated with beads, bells and flowers – their horns painted and capped with gleaming metals.
A cattle procession is taken out and people offer fruits and other goodies to the animals. Kaanum Pongal is the fourth and final day of the festival. Resembling the North Indian festival of Raksha Bandhan, when the sister ties a Rakhi on the wrist of the brother as a token of love and in return for protection, this day also celebrates the bond between siblings. In essence, the festivities of Pongal mark a re-affirmation of traditional values revolving around family and sharing.
RM/ SAK/20060112/01-release of stamp on Pongal
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