The celebrations with a mix of dance, music, cultural performances, and sumptuous Indian food!
A “first-of-its-kind” large-scale ‘South Fest’ celebration took place on 20th January 2024 at Geraldines GAA, Haggardstown, Dundalk. The event brought residents in and around Dundalk together in a buzzing atmosphere filled with music, dance, and irresistible smells of homemade South Indian food.
Pongal Sankranti is a four-day festival that marks the end of the winter solstice and signifies the coming boon of spring and is celebrated across agrarian states in the Indian subcontinent. On the day, colourful clothes, garlands of flowers and the sweet dish ‘Pongal’ made with freshly harvested rice and jaggery (unrefined cane sugar) as a mark of respect and thanksgiving to the Sun, Mother Nature and the various farm animals that help to contribute to a bountiful harvest.
At the event, Dr Dilip Mahapatra and Dr Dara Mishra were invited as the chief guests. The festivities kicked off with the Lighting of the lamp with Dr Mishra followed by the prayer by young kids of the community and continued with an inaugural address by Dr. Mahapatra.
The celebrations continued with performances by kids of various ages in which they showed how Pongal Sankranti was celebrated back in India, followed by cultural performances. There were several performances including dance, singing, and filled with a lot of fun activities for the attendees. The day ended with a sumptuous south Indian 3-course vegetarian meal cooked by people of the community.
Over 140 people from Dundalk and surrounding areas attended the festival, where they experienced South Indian hospitality and felt as if they were back in India with their relatives. About sixty volunteers worked tirelessly from November to make this event a grand success.
Over the years, we have seen organic growth in Indian talent migration to Ireland, for education and employment. Dundalk’s influx of huge pharmaceutical and technology businesses has drawn top Indian expertise, particularly from the country’s southern states. The night concluded with a collective feeling of fulfilment and anticipation for the exciting journey ahead.
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