The Embassy of Sri Lanka celebrated Thai Pongal on 26 January connecting virtually via zoom with the Tamil community in the USA and a representative group of the Overseas Sri Lanka Community in the Greater Washington area. The main event was conducted at the Embassy premises along with the Thai Pongal Pooja.
The ceremony commenced with the designing of the traditional Kolam, lighting the lamp and offering of Pongal rice to the Gods. The Hindu religious observance (Pooja) was conducted by Swamy Ragupathi Kurukkal, who invoked blessings on the Sri Lanka Community in the USA, the government and the people of Sri Lanka for peace, happiness and prosperity. He appreciated the efforts of the Embassy in bringing the community together to celebrate Thai Pongal, despite the difficult times due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Addressing the event, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha said Thai Pongal is a festival of thanksgiving to the Sun God who brings prosperity to the Universe, and to show gratitude to nature and the cattle for helping to get a bountiful harvests. The Embassy had recently revived the tradition of celebrating the important religious festivals of the 4 major religions practiced in Sri Lanka, and he appreciated those of the Hindu faith, as well as others, for joining on this occasion through zoom. He emphasized the importance of such events to keep particularly the younger generation close to their traditions and practices.
Mrs. Kanaga Ranganathan elaborated on the significance of Thai Pongal, how it is traditionally celebrated in Sri Lanka as well as in some other countries and how important these traditions are to our society.
Children of the Community also performed singing and dancing items.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
29 January 2021