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Villagers celebrate Pongal with Mohanam Cultural Centre


It was a huge weight that was lifted on Pongal at Sanjeevinagar. The young men showed off their muscles and capacity. Ilavatta Kal Thookuthal (stone-lifting sport for the youth) is a traditional festival sport, along with Kabaddi, a team game even rougher than Rugby. The games were revived and gave joy to over a hundred loyal villagers.


Mohanam, the heritage center of Tamil Arts and Culture, located in Sanjeevinagar near Auroville, celebrated Pongal festival with villagers on 16 th January 07, by conducting tranditonal cultural events for the villagers.


Games and sports engaged the village men, women and children. To bridge contemporary with the traditional, the slow cycle race was followed by a slow motor-cycle race. Amidst whistles and cheers, the most boastful cyclists tumbled to the ground, while the slowest reached the finish line last - the last laughed first.



The motor cycle race surprised many on-lookers as it revealed the boys who had learned to rear their bikes on the back wheel, spin around in circles, turn corners without hands -- all to the amazement and delight of the crowd.



Women were not neglected! Pulled out of their conventional role of homebodies, the traditional game of Nondi Attam had them hopping around on one leg while everyone cheered and laughed.


They showed their artistic talents through the traditional Tamil art Kolam '. exemplary and beautiful designs in the Kolam Competition . Kolam is a local art, performed daily by women decorating their doorsteps with chalk drawn traditional geometric mazes. More than a hundred women drew their most intricate designs and admiration stood in the air.



Mohanam has been conducting Kolam festivals for the last four years in Sanjeevi Nagar village. Since then, the Centre has been bringing this art form to the fabrics through the project Kolam Arts' which is now providing employment opportunities for village women.



Hopefully, these events will stimulate similar happenings in other surrounding villages and inspire the youth not to give up their traditional games. In future, Mohanam Cultural Centre will be introducing more traditional games and events with the collaboration of the villagers.


For more information, contact mohanam@auroville.org.in


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