Pongal festivities always start with Bhogi, dedicated to the Lord Indra, the Hindu god of rain. With rain comes cleansing and renewal – families in Tamil Nadu spring clean their homes, throwing out old possessions to be burnt on a bonfire.
As urbanites here in the Lion City, however, bonfires are not an option, so here are 5 alternative ways you can channel the heart of Bhogi and practise renewal in your life this Pongal.
1. Give your home a mini makeover
Out with the old, in with the new! Let this change of seasons bring along a change of space and pace to your home. Bhogi is the perfect time to weed out the old and broken items in your home – just remember to dispose of them responsibly.
If you’re picking out some fresh furnishings, a green palette or earthy tones works well and is also festival-appropriate! Pongal has agricultural roots, so sugar cane and mango leaves are great motifs to use, and fairy lights are a must. Finish off with an agricultural-themed kolam and you’re all set to usher in Pongal!
2. Declutter your wardrobe
Hands up if you, or someone in your family, has waaay too many clothes! Make time this Bhogi to simplify and declutter your wardrobe. As a general guide, if you haven’t worn a piece of clothing in the past year (okay, maybe past 2 years because COVID-19 put the brakes on dressing up and heading out in 2020), it’s probably time to let it go. Give these pieces a new lease of life by donating or repurposing them instead!
It’s okay to keep a few older oufits for occasions or sentimental reasons, but otherwise a collection of your most regularly worn pieces will give you enough to mix and match from, while still keeping you and your wardrobe happy!
3. Take time to journal
As much as it’s good to refresh our living spaces, it’s equally important to take time to renew our minds and soul. Find a cosy space, quiet your mind, and reflect on the past year. 2020 was certainly a challenging one, but how did it help you grow as a person? The lessons we learn from tough times are a kind of harvest too!Is there any anger, bitterness, or grief that you’re still holding on to? This is a good time to release those emotions and extend forgiveness. Are there areas of life where you experienced abundance in 2020? Practise gratitude and give thanks for those areas. Now you’re ready to start a new season afresh!
4. Enjoy a walk in nature
For a holistic renewal experience, don’t forget your body too! Despite being a concrete jungle, Singapore does have many green spaces to take advantage of.
5. Refresh your working space
Working from home (at least partially) seems set to continue this year, with workplaces and even schools implementing hybrid arrangements. So why not make your home workspace an inspiring and conducive one for you?As the saying goes, a cluttered space reflects a cluttered mind. Invest in some desktop organisers and give your papers, wires, writing instruments and digital devices a specific niche on your table. Change up your mousepad or treat yourself to a new coaster that brings you joy. You can even refresh your desktop wallpaper on your personal devices. Regardless of whether your workspace is big or small, you can make it one that works for you.
There are many shops that offer beautiful home furnishings and festive decorations, but the best one-stop shopping destination for Pongal is definitely the Little India district! If you’re making a trip down this festive season, do remember to observe the appropriate social distancing and health safety measures.