THAI PONGAL CELEBRATIONS AT THE WASHINGTON
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
Embassy of Sri Lanka
16 January 2006