British Tamils join the first ever Thai Pongal celebration at No10

Rupanjana Dutta Wednesday 25th January 2023 04:44 EST
Members of the Tamil community attending the first ever Thai Pongal celebration at Prime Minister’s residence 

On a crisp Friday noon, 10 Downing Street was readied to welcome UK’s Tamil community, for the first time ever, to celebrate Thai Pongal at the Prime Minister’s residence. At the celebration, a small ‘mandir’ was set up with Pongal and banana as offerings to the God. 

The bustling room was filled with about 60 professionals and businesses, visibly excited about the festivities. Guests were also treated to assortment of juices, snacks and a bowl of Pongal. Some women braved the cold to wear beautiful South Indian silk sarees, while men flaunted their traditional white and gold silk veshtis (dhotis), proudly showcasing their culture to mark the Tamil Heritage Month.

Among guests invited were Selva Pankaj, CEO, Principal and Co-Founder, Regent Group, Vivekanand Jaganthan, Partner, Silk Route Legal, Sarika Shankarnarayan, Business Head - Star TV Network, Ash Balakrishnan, Membership Experience Manager, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Vijay Vaidyanathan, Chief Commercial Officer, Vibrant Foods, Dr Lawrence Frerdrick, Director, Chola Intermediaries Ltd, Aru Sivanathan, entrepreneur and community leader, to name a few. 

Party Chairman Nadhim Zahawi, on behalf of the Prime Minister, thanked the guests for their ‘tremendous contribution’ and hailed their key role in the NHS. 

Speaking about Thai Pongal, Mr Zahawi said, “During these unprecedented times, the universal message of Thai Pongal is one that resonates with us all. Thai Pongal reflects new beginnings, hope, an opportunity to start a fresh with renewed courage. Marking the end of the harvest season, Thai Pongal allows us to show our gratitude – particularly to mother nature – something we have realised we can no longer take for granted! The sweetness of the Pongal rice pudding dish represents love and peace.”

UK is home to an estimated 500,000 Tamils, from both Indian and Sri Lankan heritage.

Photo courtesy: Twitter @BTConservatives

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