KONGU DC is a registered, non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization of Kongu people living in North America.
Kongu DC organizes the following gatherings every year to celebrate with other Kongu brethren in Washington DC metro area.
- Spring Picnic
- Summer Picnic 1
- Summer Picnic 2
- Fall Gathering
- Deepavali Celebration
- Pongal Celebration
KONGU DC’s purpose is to:
- To preserve, maintain and promote cultural heritage of the people of KONGU VELLALAR COMMUNITY from India
- To help and propagate cultural, educational, social, economic and community affairs of the people of KONGU origin in North America
- To organize periodic South Indian literary, cultural and educational conferences in the North American continent to promote KONGU culture
- To foster brotherhood and togetherness among people from KONGU background and others
- To promote and carry forward KONGU culture to the younger generation
- To meet periodically and celebrate traditional festivals and customs as a community
- To raise, solicit and collect funds and donations either directly or in cooperation with other non-profit organizations for cultural, educational and charitable purposes in North America and abroad for both KONGU community and other communities at large
Kongu have been instrumental in the welfare of the Kongunadu zone, which is predominantly rainfed but blessed with a cooler tropical plateau climate. Kongu region is amongst the most industrialized regions in the country and a major contributor to the Tamil Nadu state economy.
Kongu family names also known as kootam, gothram, or clan. The names often resemble the name of a flower (Araiyan), tree (Oodaalan), fish (Avuriyan), a bird (Antuvan) or human body parts. The names of the kootams are similar to the names used during the old Tamil Sangam period. Each of this Kootam will worship their own Kula deivam or family deity and follow their Kulaguru. They normally offer prayers at the temples of their own specific deities. They avoid and do not arrange marriages between the two families of the same Kulam or Koottam.
The history of the Kongu people is one of the most obscure along with the history of the Kongunadu region itself. They have been credited by many as unique and appreciated for their varied qualities like untiring hard work, objective nature, high moderation, honesty, humanitarian spirit, commitment, philanthropy, strong bonding, innovative mind, and reliability.
In Gounder marriages, the ceremonial marriage rites are elaborately conducted for three days. They follow the old Sangam period marriage traditions and such traditions do not include chanting of Vedic hymns and rising of holy fire. The Gounder marriages offer a very good scope for participation from other communities. The other communities that partake in the marriage rituals include Navidhar (barber), Vannar (washer man), Kuyavar (potter), Kammalar (carpenter), Maadhaari (cobbler), and Pandaram (cook).
Kongu Nadu cuisine is predominantly south Indian with rice as its base and a collection of exotic recipes being created by the people residing in the Kongu region. Food is served over a banana leaf. Eating on a banana leaf is an old custom and imparts a unique flavor to the food and is considered healthy. Idly, dosa, paniyaram and appam are popular dishes. Kongu Nadu cuisine does not involve marination of any raw material and as a result the food has a different taste and unique texture. Turmeric is added into curries which gives the product a deep yellow color and an aromatic substance. Arisi Paruppu Sadam, made from a mixture of dal and rice is a recipe that existed from fourth century CE and unique to the area. Kaalaan is a popular dish prepared by simmering deep fried mushrooms (usually chopped mushroom) in a spicy broth, until it reaches a porridge like consistency and served sprinkled with chopped onions and coriander leaves. The traditional Kongu people were mostly vegetarians for religious reason. Oppitu is a type of sweet made with the basic ingredients rice, sundal paruppu, palm jaggery, cardamom and ghee.