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Thai Pongal celebrations at the High Commission of Sri Lanka in Singapore

The Sri Lanka High Commission in Singapore together with the Sri Lankan community in Singapore celebrated the Thai Pongal festival for the third consecutive year at a colourful ceremony at the High Commission premises on Thursday, 19 January 2023.

Decorative motifs, popularly known as “Kolams” among the Tamil community were drawn on the floor adding a traditional cultural look to the event.

Vice Chairman of the Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple in Singapore K. Selvakrishnan and President Jayaseelan Karthijesu, and Secretary-General of the Singapore-Ceylon Tamils Association  S.Koban were present at the celebrations as special guests. Chief Priest of the Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple in Singapore Sri Sabesan Kurukkal, conducted the special pooja and Hindu religious observances.

Welcoming those present, High Commissioner Premawardhane emphasized the importance of the Thai Pongal Festival and introduced it as the most treasured religious and cultural festival celebrated by the Tamil Community across the globe. She added that festival pays  tribute to the sun by offering the first harvest as a token of gratitude. She said that the Thai Pongal festival has become an integral part of the national culture and this year’s ‘Thai Pongal’ is a celebration with added significance, considering the bumper harvest of the current ‘Maha’ Season, from which the entire nation will benefit.

The High Commissioner quoted from the Thai Pongal message of President Ranil Wickeremesinghe, which highlighted that the Pongal festival this year is opportune to signify the Government’s endeavours, to build a self-sufficient country by ensuring food security and nutrition for all, and reviving Sri Lanka being the Granary of the East, as established by our forefathers.

The High Commissioner added that the Singapore -Sri Lanka relationship is underpinned by shared cultural values and strong people to people linkages. She recalled the invaluable assistance extended throughout the Covid 19 pandemic by the Government of Singapore through Temasek Foundation International, other charitable organisations and the Singapore community to support Sri Lanka’s healthcare response to the pandemic.

 High Commissioner Premawardhane further added that the High Commission is also hoping to join hands with the Tamil Community in Singapore to assist in initiating some special projects for which the preliminary discussion has been held with the Governor of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka during his recent visit to Singapore.

The High Commissioner acknowledged the extensive contributions made by the Sri Lankan Tamil community towards the development of Singapore, stating that the community was a proud reflection of the country, its diversity and its talent. The Senpaga Vinayagar temple in Singapore was built in the 1850s for which the Ceylonese Tamils are credited with pioneering the building of the first structures of the temple. The High Commissioner appreciated the important role played by the Singapore Ceylon Tamils Association in the maintenance and management of the temple.

The religious rituals ended with the offering of Pongal to Lord Ganesha and other gods.

Traditional sweetmeats, including Pongal and Ceylon tea were served at the conclusion of the event.

High Commission of Sri Lanka


24 January 2023

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