In Singapore, celebrations focus on the ritual of cooking pongal in an earthenware pot, prayers at the temple and visiting relatives. A pongal dish consists of rice, milk, cane sugar and cardamom. In traditional contexts, the dish would be prepared using the new grains that had just been harvested. Some households would also add in other ingredients such as include cardamom, raisins and cashew nuts.
The pongal pot is allowed to boil over in order to symbolise hopes for abundance in the new year. When it overflows, people cry, “Pongalo! Pongal”, to signify the overflowing of prosperity and good fortune.
After the pot has boiled over, families place sweets, flowers, offerings, fruits and the pongal pot in the altar of the family’s prayer room. Family members also seek blessings from the elderly.
Pongal bazaars selling prayer items, traditional clothes, festive decorations, Indian sugar cane and other ingredients are also popular during the celebrations.