I feel very enthusiastic to write about this Kanu pongal. The celebration of Pongal does not end in one day. I used to select favorite Kolams to be drawn at my House in Madurai. We had a very big place to show my Talent of drawing Kolam. The preparation for Kanu pongal begins on the day of Pongal festival itself. Most importantly, this is performed only by ladies.
My mom and my Grandma plan for the quantity of cooking on the day of pongal itself since the rice and Pongal we cook on the day of Pongal is saved to Complete this formality of Kanu to be performed on the next day early morning. Usually Tanjore based people do this before they take bath in the morning. Since it is usually known as “Kanu Peedai” we complete this kanu pidi and then take head bath without much delay. I have heard few people, doing this after taking bath. We don’t consume food before completing the formality of Kanu.
On the day of Kanu, we visit elders and they use the Pasu Manjal to bless the younger ones. The Pasu Manjal Stick will be softly rubbed on the cheeks and forehead before we perform the Kanu pidi. Elders tell the below blessing.
“Seerodaiyum Sirappodaiyum chinna ambadaiyanukku vaakkapattu, periya ambadaiyanukku pillai pethu nanna irukkanum”
Meaning behind this is to get married early and get gifted with children at early stage. Long live with good health and wealth.
We used to giggle when our grandmas tell this to us without knowing the actually meaning.
Items to be kept available the day before Kanu.
1. Turmeric leaves/ Pasu Manjal plant Leaves
2. Sugarcane pieces
3. Plain rice mixed with Turmeric powder
4. Plain rice mixed with kumkum
5. Plain rice with Curd
6. Sakkarai pongal/Sweet Pongal
7. Ericha koottu/Koottu
8. Camphor / Karpooram
9. Match box
10. Pancha pathiram and udhruni with Water
11. Kola maavu
We used to get early in the morning, around 5 0 Clock and go to terrace. Nowadays, most of the houses in cities are Flats. Hence we can do it in Balcony. Draw simple Kolam, one for each person. Draw the Kolam east faced preferably and stand in the same direction. Place the turmeric leaves on the Kolam. Use 2 to 4 leaves per person. Then keep the Sakkarai Pongal, Turmeric Rice, Kumkum Rice, Curd Rice, Ericha koottu, Sugar cane pieces one my one on the leaves. While we place the above items we have to tell “ Kakka pidi vaichen, Kanu pidi Vachen Kakka koottam kalaiyadha madhiri En koottamum kalaiyama irukkanum”
Since Kanu pidi is formally known to be celebrated for our brothers, the above stance is mentioned to ensure that we have a good relationship with our family. Wash your hands and Show the Karpoora Aarthi to the items placed. Do the Neivedhyam for the items placed. Then perform Namaskaram towards Sun.
These items should not be allowed to be consumed by dogs. Usually crows are expected to eat these items.
After taking oil bath we have to consume at least a bit of the Curd rice and Ericha koottu. We like this combination of Curd rice and Ericha koottu and consume this to manage our hunger while my Mom and Grandma prepare the food.
Usually Sisters are invited to their house by Brothers for Kanu pidi and they are gifted with Sarees , Cash or some gift to Thank them for performing this ritual for the goodness of the family.
During my mom’s Childhood they used to go the nearest river Bank and complete this ritual, take bath and have the curd rice there itself. They reach home and then start cooking.
We prepare Variety Rice on this day. It usually includes, Coconut Rice, Tamarind Rice, Lemon Rice and Curd Rice. The highlight is Kalkandu pongal that my mom makes. Aviyal and Vadam are the side dishes we prepare on this day. Rasam is not prepared on this day.
Few years back when my family visited my sister in Singapore during Pongal holidays, we did this on the washing machine since there were no facilities like a balcony there. There are no crows as well in that country. Still we did this for the good relationship within brothers and sisters.