Back to the celebration of the New Year which is called Pongal in India.
The third day of celebration is cows' day. Being a revered animal (and a significant contributor to the health of a family), the family cow has its own special day.
At every local market, several vendors sell many powders of brilliant colors for the various Pongal purposes.
(You've seen them before, used in the designs drawn in front of the homes-- see my March 12, 2008, posting.)
For this third day of celebration, they are used on the cows.
First, the animal is washed thoroughly in a nearby river or lake.
Next, dots of the powdered colors are used to decorate its body; in the picture of the calf here, additional decorative material has been placed around his neck.
Once prepared, the family cow is allowed inside the family's home for a while!
Other animals get to enjoy the special status on this day as well......
For more great information on Pongal, which is celebrated this month (January) each year, please see Varun Withu's blog (link posted on my site here)!