On October 5, 2016, Motion M-24 was passed in the Federal Parliament, officially proclaiming January of every year as Tamil Heritage Month. Tamil Heritage Month aims to celebrate the richness of the Tamil language and its literature, as well as to highlight the vibrant traditions, histories, arts, and cultures of Tamil Canadians. In addition, it seeks to recognize the significant contributions of Tamil Canadians in key areas of social, cultural, economic, and political spheres.
According to the Tamil calendar, January 14, 2017 is the start of the Tamil New Year during the month of “Thai”. On this day Tamils around the diaspora will be celebrating Tamil New Year and Thai Pongal, the Tamil harvest festival. Thai Pongal is the most important and widely-celebrated festival amongst Tamils around the globe.
Thai Pongal is a time to give thanks for the blessings of the previous year and a time to look forward to the New Year. Pongal refers to rice cooked in milk and sweetened with chakkarai (brown cane sugar). On Thai Pongal members of the family wake up early in the morning, dress in new clothes and gather together to cook the traditional Pongal meal. Additional ingredients used in this special dish include milk-roasted green gram (payaru), raisins, cashew nuts (optional), and cardamom. Pongal is served with fruits (banana and mango) on a banana leaf, and the family gives thanks to the sun and, the farmers for a bountiful harvest before sharing the special dish with family members, friends and neighbours.
Please join us in recognizing Tamil Heritage Month.