Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Week(s) (02/10/11)
TITLE: Festival of First Fruits
By Shanta Richard
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They would clear a place in the harvested field and arrange three small rocks to form a fireplace and start a fire. They would then pour water in a new earthen pot and when it boils they would add the rice and let it boil. As the rice cooks, the juice from new sugarcanes and cow’s milk and a little salt would be added. When the mixture boils over there would be clapping of hands and shouts of joy, for it was Pongal, the overflowing of God’s bounty.
When the feast was ready the farmers and all the workers, decked in new clothes and in high spirits would gather together and express their thanks to their gods in song and dance and enjoy the feast.
The festivities would continue throughout the week. One day, called Kanni Pongal, would be allotted to the girls who would go from house to house dancing and singing, where they would be blessed and given gifts. Kannu Pongal is the day when the cattle are honored for their milk and their labor in the fields. Kannum Pongal is the day when the families pile up into their bullock carts and go sight-seeing. And so it would continue all week long.
This is the Hindu way of offering thanks to their gods of the harvest. Indian Christians brought their first fruits to Church and celebrated God’s goodness in praise and worship.
Years later when I started to read and understand my Bible, I found that God’s Law to Moses included the celebration of three major feasts –
The feast of Passover
The feast of Weeks or First Fruits
The Feast of Booths or Ingathering of the harvest
The festival of Pongal corresponds to the Feast of Weeks ordered by Jehovah. It is amazing that the Law of the Eternal Creator God is universal. It is imperative that man honors and worships God for all His blessings. The Festival of Weeks is important because it is the day offerings – mandatory and voluntary -are brought to God’s altar in gratitude for all that He has done in the past and will do in the future.
Real thanksgiving, the celebration of the Feast of Weeks is possible only if we realize and acknowledge God as the provider, Jehovah- Jireh, of everything. This entails the realization that His provision is for all creation and that we are obliged to share it with those who need it. God loves a cheerful giver. And so let us celebrate the festival of thanksgiving not for one week but for every moment of every week – worshipping, praising, glorifying and sharing the one true God – Jehovah-Jireh.
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