A ceremony to celebrate Thai Pongal, was held at the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington D.C. on 14th January 2006. Thai Pongal is one of the significant festivals celebrated by members of the Hindu Tamil community in Sri Lanka. The Embassy event was attended by a cross-section of the Sri Lankan Tamil community resident in the greater Washington area and representatives of the Sri Lanka related associations in the area.

This event was held following a decision taken in April 2005 by the Embassy to commemorate the main religio-cultural events of all communities in Sri Lanka. Last year, similar ceremonies were held to commemorate the Wesak Poya Day in May, Ramadan in October and Christmas in December.

In his remarks at the ceremony, Ambassador Bernard A.B. Goonetillke, who traced the antecedents of the Thai Pongal festival in India and Sri Lanka said, such events are intended to not only help us appreciate our respective cultures and demonstrate the continued unity amongst us, but also to ensure that the Embassy was viewed as an inclusive institution, which caters to the cultural, social and religious needs of all Sri Lankans.

Mrs. Kanaga Ranganthan provided an exposition on the significance of Thai Pongal to the Tamil community in Sri Lanka and South India, and conducted Hindu prayers, while Mrs. Saroja Kanesathasan sang devotional songs to Lord Ganesh and to mark Thai Pongal.

A reception followed the ceremony. The refreshments served included an array of food traditionally associated with Thai Pongal.

Embassy of Sri Lanka
Washington DC

16 January 2006


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