The poorest among mankind celebrate the gift of life and the bounty of Nature. In early January, the whole village celebrates Pongal in Tamil Nadu, South India and similar festivals all over the world depending on the harvest time. It stretches over four days, which become an island of joy, even if life is a stormy business. All old things are burnt in a huge bonfire. New clothes are worn. Overflowing joy and good fortune are celebrated by the Pongal pot of plenty which boils over with the rice and jaggery that will be eaten at the celebration.

The house is newly painted and decorated. There is a whole day devoted to cows. Their horns are painted and bodies decorated, and they enjoy a rest and good food. The last day is devoted to going out and seeing friends and relatives, watching movies and generally celebrating life.

The saying is that when Thai (following the mid January Harvest festival) is born, a way will be found to solve all problems. These celebrations lift you out of the trough of despondency. They fill you with the energy to make a new beginning with the help of God and the family.