The Grand Gala 18th Anniversary of New Year & Pongal celebration of Sri Lankan Tamil Community of Indian Origin – Canada
Posted on February 2nd, 2011

Pudhuvai N.Raman

 Canada is one of the best countries in all respects since it gives asylum to those helpless victims who want to migrate and settle for a life with full of peace and harmony.  As such Canada gives a warm reception strengthening the unity of multiculturalism in diversity.

We all know that there are more than a million of South Asian Hindus are living in various parts of Canada. They have achieved remarkable success in Trade and commerce in addition to employment services. Adding more reputation to their values of their traditional cultural heritage, they celebrate all their Hindu festivals in grand manner all around the year in various forms and styles. Particularly welcoming the New Year, the first traditional festival called “Thai Pongal” is the famous celebration among Hindus since it brings the sense of unity among them.  Its significance lies on pure devotional and spiritual aspects. Hindu festivals focus their strong beliefs towards their religion. As per Tamil calendar, 1st day of the 1st month corresponding to the 14th of January is known as Thai.  This unique festival being observed by North Indians as well, since it reflects worshipping the Sun God who is the primary protector and living source for good return of harvest to the Farmers.  Thus to extend their gratitude to Sun God and the cattle, they celebrate for 4 days in fabulous manner. Generally before the start of Pongal they white wash their house and remove all unwanted household items and burn them. This is known as “Bogi” among Hindus in South India and as “Lohri” in North India.  On Pongal Day, in the neat and tidy house, they cook newly harvested (Paddy) rice, adding milk, juggery, cardamom, cloves. Rose water, camphor and prepare sweet pongal in mud pot, which will be decorated with sandal,  kumkum, turmeric , ginger and sugarcane tied around the pot.  When the milk boils, all the family members will offer their prayer to Sun God by voicing “ƒ”¹…” Pongalo Pongal’.  Thus their belief earmarks the happy and prosperous life throughout the year. The oldest proverb “ƒ”¹…”;ƒÆ’‚ ®¤ƒÆ’‚ ¯ƒ”¹-  ƒÆ’‚ ®ªƒÆ’‚ ®¿ƒÆ’‚ ®±ƒÆ’‚ ®¨ƒÆ’‚ ¯ƒÆ’‚ ®¤ƒÆ’‚ ®¾ƒÆ’‚ ®²ƒÆ’‚ ¯ ƒÆ’‚ ®µƒÆ’‚ ®´ƒÆ’‚ ®¿ ƒÆ’‚ ®ªƒÆ’‚ ®¿ƒÆ’‚ ®±ƒÆ’‚ ®”‚¢ƒÆ’‚ ¯ƒÆ’‚ ®”‚¢ƒÆ’‚ ¯ƒÆ’‚ ®®’.   Thus as a symbol of thanksgiving, milk rice made out of the first grains of paddy are offered to the Sun God on the first day of January according to the Hindu calendar.  Sharing  the fruits of their labour with the family and those who helped them in the cultivation is an integral part of the Thai Pongal, a tradition followed by the Tamils wherever they live.

In Toronto all Hindu Temples, various social community organizations and families celebrated this year Pongal Festival in fitting manner, which attracted other ethnic communities as well. On Pongal day everybody greet each other and offer Pongal strengthening the mutual and friendly relationship among them.

Sri Lankan Tamil Community of Indian Origin “”…” Canada, a charitable social organization which has more than 300 Members, celebrated its 18th anniversary New Year and Pongal – 2011 with varieties of cultural events, held at Korean Cultural Centre on 15th January 2011.

SLTCIO “”…” Canada President Mr Krishnamoorthy, Secretary Mr Jaihindraj ideally coordinated the efforts of their board members and volunteers quiet successfully. Invitees from various walks of life graced this occasion and enjoyed till the very end. The Consulate General of Sri Lanka Hon. Karunaratne Paranawithana, Mr. Mano Kanagamany, Executive Assistant, Office of the Michelle Thompson M.P (Scarborough South West) Eco Terra INTL.Corpn, Director Mr. Kris Parthpan, Kathir Oli Tamil Weekly Newspaper Chief Editor Mr. Paulraj Pandian, Mr. Moorthy of Spectrum Foods, Mr. Iyya Sivam and Dr. Gowrishankar Balachandran are to be specially mentioned among the special guests.

The whole program was well organized from Reception to Dinner in addition to entertainment by the famous light music Group “ƒ”¹…”Chennai Rhythms’.

At the reception counter the traditional exposure of Poornakumbam with Holy lamps, and Sugarcane attracted the visitors who were given a warm welcome by the organizers of the event, presented the souvenir, door prize tickets with light refreshments.   On the stage banners of sponsors of this event viz Ms. Shiron Manivannan, Mr. Prabha Sivalingam, Century 21 Mr. Ashok K. Selliah, Maximum Financial Choice Mr. Jayakumar, Travel guide were displayed.

At the beginning the Master of ceremony Mrs. Sumathi Krishnaraj and Mr. Kalaiselvan with the assistance of Mrs. Kaladei Karunananthan welcomed and briefed out the programs and announced that the buyers of lottery tickets will receive a White Gold Diamond Ring and other valuable items.  The event started with the Lighting the traditional oil lamp. Tamil Thai Vazthu, Canadian National Anthem, followed with welcome “ƒ”¹…”Keerthanai’ by Miss. Varshini Vageesan.

 The President of SLTCIO, Mr. Krishnamoorthy in his welcome speech highlighted the salient features of the association in the past 18 years with mutual, moral support of the members and well wishers of business community.  He said, this year it aims to strengthen the younger generation membership so as to implement various development projects for them. He also recognized the service with immense gratitude, members like Mr. Kannan, Shankar, Loganathan, Mangalraj, Balakrishnan   Ram Ramachandran, Shan Chandrasekar, Devraj, and Raju. Karuna, Balakrishnan, Sathasivam, Umachandran, Sivasithambaram, Muthulingam, Vasu & Rajendran

Mr & Mrs. Somasundaram, Mrs. Lakshmi Ramachandran, Mrs. Jamunarani Surenthranath.  He also stated that by uniting the Sri Lankan Tamils of Indian Origin in Canada.  This association has done lots of social and cultural services by bridging the cultural heritage of their community for better understanding and cooperation among them. He also stressed the need to help the younger generation’s education in the upcountry plantation sector by coordinating the efforts of the Indian Tamils living in the western World as well as those working in the Middle East.

Following his welcome speech till end Chennai Rhythms Music Group Director Mr. John Satya with renowned singers. Entertained intermittently with nice music. 

 The programs prepared by the members with the children of SLTCIO “”…” Canada, Aaligrah Modern Dance by Juniors, Anajali Dance by the students of Sambradaya Dance Academy of Mississauga, Bharathanatyam by young dancer Ms. Menaka Baskaran, student of Shanthalaya Bharathnatya Dance School, and young tiny tots of Mirudangam solo by the students of Dr. Gowrishankar Balachandran, Modern Dance “”…”Chocolate baby choreographed by Mrs. Radhika Yoganathan are to be mentioned. The entire programs were excellent; the Fashion show organized by Anusha Gopinath was very attractive. The guests complimented them very well.

The exciting event of the show drawing the winners of the lottery ticket drew the attention of everyone. Mrs. Sriram Ramachandran won the Diamond Ring sponsored by Western Jewellers, Mr. Vasudevan. The other items Digital Camera, Microwave Oven, Convention Oven and $ 500.00 Travel Vouchers were gifted to the respective winners.  All the performers were honoured with gifts and mementoes presented by various dignitaries. New Membership application forms along with a pamphlet detailing there would be activities, contact phone numbers etc., were distributed during the event.

 Mrs. Anshan Gobinath in her address invited the youngsters of the community to actively participate, so that while they are benefiting from the organization they could be of help to their brethrens here as well as in Sri Lanka.  She thanked the organizers for providing a vital stage for the youngsters and children of her community.

 Thiru Jaihindraj in his secretary’s remarks expressed that this year’s celebration has given a boost to enrich the future activities of the organization. While, thanking everyone for their excellent cooperation.  He also sincerely thanked the Consulate General of Sri Lanka Hon. Karunaratne Paranawithana for having readily consented to assist the SLTCIO “”…” CANADA in their envisaged plan to help the most needy upcountry school children whose plight he himself is well aware of.

Thus, the Pongal celebration with delicious dinner by Cader’s catering and the volunteer’s hospitality made the whole program a grand success and concluded with vote of thanks by the Secretary.

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