Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pongal superstition and fearful rumor

In the year 2007, a rumor was spread across the world rapidly, from Tamil Nadu, regarding Pongal festival of the year. According to the rumor, “Pongal or Makara Sankranthi arrives in Simha Lagnam (Simma Lagnam) and due to that the male members of the society will be badly affected. As a remedial measure, a plantain leaf (banana leaf / vazhai ilai / Waalai / waazhai / vaalai) is to be spread in front of each house, rice is to be spread over the leaf and a lamp is to be lit.” This rumor started reaching different regions with some different modifications. In some places the number of lamps per house (deepam / vilakku) was made equal to the number of male members of the house. Some houses kept this arrangement even for three days. People were praying to God with fear. People started informing their friends and relatives through mobile phones. The recipients also conveyed this rumor to their known friends and relatives in order to save them from evil. Others, by seeing the illumination everywhere, enquired about the reason and started following. On conclusion of this superstitious activity, the lamps were immersed in ponds, pools, lakes, rivers or sea as per convenience or belief.

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