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Pongal Harvest Festival celebration

It’s hard to convey how important Pongal is to the Tamil / Indian diaspora. A dedication to the Sun god, Surya, Pongal is a four day festival that marks the end of the winter solstice and signifies the coming boon of spring. Colourful clothes, garlands of flowers and leaves, and of course, the eponymous dish, pongal, a sweet dish of milk-boiled rice, all serve as prominent features in the celebrations of this festival. It can trace its roots back almost a thousand years ago, first celebrated under the Chola dynasty, and the tradition of serving pongal to people from all walks of life underpins a key part of Tamil and wider Indian society.

Pongal is celebrated both in India and abroad and is a point of global culture for the wider community of Tamil-speaking people. Here in the UK you can see houses decorated with kolam, a colourful rice-based powder, so as to showcase the rainbow of colours that surround us in our everyday lives. And despite the varied cultural settings in which Pongal is celebrated, it marks a powerful chance for the Tamil community and its wider links to come together and join hands to celebrate an exciting new year to come.

Pongal celebration took place on Sunday Jan 15 at Morley Town Hall, the beautiful grade I listed building. About 300 people attended the event, which was full of songs, dance and delicious food.

News by Dr. Ezhil Anand

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