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January 14, 2018 – Thai Pongal

I would like to take this opportunity to wish members of the Canadian Tamil community  Happy Thai Pongal and Pongal Vazhthukkal.

Pongal, which falls on the first day of the Tamil month Thai is a harvest festival that coincides with the winter solstice. Pongal is dedicated to the Sun God Surya and marks the beginning of the northward journey of the sun from its southernmost-limit, a movement referred to as ‘uttarayana’.

This centuries-old festival celebrates the many gifts of the harvest and the family. Special rice dishes are prepared; homes are adorned with banana and mango leaves and decorative patterns drawn with rice flour; and, people gather at temple for special prayers.

The saying “Thai Pirandhal Vazhi Pirakkum” meaning “the commencement of Thai paves the way for new opportunities” is often said during the Pongal festival.

Toronto is a proud multicultural city that embraces a wide variety of cultures and faiths.  Our city flourishes because of the diversity of people who have chosen to make Toronto their home. It is important to recognize each and every community that plays a part in enhancing Toronto’s social and cultural landscape.

As the Newcomer’s Advocate with the City of Toronto I strongly believe that we must work to together to promote togetherness. We must Respect our newcomer communities. We must Accept our newcomer communities. We should Celebrate our diversity and Embrace our different cultures and traditions, because we are all part of the human RACE.