Malaysia is home to a variety of races living harmoniously under one roof for over five decades. Having lived together in communities for so long, it is only natural that we grow to adopt one or two of the customs and practices of other races into our daily lives. Do not be surprised to hear a child using his/her name in place of herself when talking to his/her parents or other elder members of her family. This practice is most common in Malay families as it is considered rude to use ‘saya’ (I or me) when addressing others.
Among the many Hindu festivals celebrated by the Tamil society in Malaysia, most people would be familiar with Thaipusam, which is celebrated in the month of ‘Thai’. Not many would know that prior to celebrating Thaipusam, there is another major festival that is widely celebrated amongst the Tamil communities known as Ponggal. The word ‘Ponggal’ actually means ‘boiling over’ in Tamil. This festival is usually celebrated over a period of four days, making it one of the longest celebrations in the Tamil calendar. The festival is celebrated on 15th January every year and is a much cherished celebration especially amongst the farming community, as usually the festival marks the end of harvesting season.