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Tamil youth worldwide celebrate Thai Pongal


Tamil youth took part in Thai Pongal festivities this week, celebrating the ancient Tamil harvest festival, in locations across the world.

Giving thanks to the new harvest, Tamil snacks were cooked and pots of milk boiled, as young Tamils in different corners of the world gathered to celebrate

In the Tamil homeland, youth from all over the North-East celebrated the harvest festival, with festivities taking place in Jaffna, Mannar and Batticaloa. Red and yellow streamers were hung throughout Jaffna University and fireworks let off, as students and lecturers gathered to celebrate.

(Photographs: TamilWin)


As in Jaffna, red and yellow streamers were hung in Mannar as churches and temples held ceremonies to mark the day, which fell on January 14th.

Tamil youth in the diaspora marked the auspicious occasion with a series of events spread across the globe.

In the UK, the typically rainy British weather did little to dampen the festive spirits, where university students from the Tamil Students Initiative and members from the Tamil Youth Organisation UK held events in London. At the School of Oriental and African Studies in London a traditional ceremony was held, overlooking the statue of legendary Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar.

The afternoon saw students from across the UK gather in traditional attire, as a mann paanai (clay pot) was set to boil over an open fire and traditional paarai drums were beating. The crowd of eagerly awaiting students burst into cries of “pongalo-pongal!”, as the boiling milk overflowed from the paanai – the climax of the ceremony.

Swedish historian Peter Schalk also spoke at the event, recalling the importance of such events for the Tamil nation, calling it a form of “nation branding”.

Meanwhile, other ceremonies were held with children from the local community. With sugar cane cuttings being served alongside other traditional Tamil snacks, dozens of children gathered to anxiously watch the paanai boil and take part in drawing a kolam, proudly displaying Tamil national symbols.

Colourful designs also featured in celebrations in London, as Tamil youth gathered to celebrate, with more cooking of pongal in the traditional manner.

In Canada, the Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wayne, joined in with the celebrations with the Tamil Youth Organization, which saw the freshly cooked pongal served to eat.

And in New Zealand, the Tamil Youth Organisation New Zealand served up more pongal and played games as they celebrated the day's festivities.

See a video of their Thai Pongal celebrations below.

See more photos from Thai Pongal celebrations around the world on our Facebook page here.

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