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A grand Pongal festival hosted by Sydney OBA at Pendle Hill
Posted on: 20/01/2016 (Wednesday)
Sydney OBA together with Tamil Merchants of Sydney hosted a grand Pongal Vizha in Sydney on Sunday 17th January 2016, at the Pendle Hill Civic Park, Sydney. The park was decorated in a traditional way with festoons and decorative scaffolds and the Pongal platform was decorated with kolam and sugarcanes. The celebration that started at 7.30 AM went on till 3.00 PM. A large gathering of over 1000 people enjoyed the festivity that as usual reflected the Tamil culture and traditions strongly. The children especially had a great time at the Pongal festival. The Holroyd Mayor Clr. Greg Cummings, North Ward Councillor Lisa Lake, NSW Parliamentarian for Prospect Mr. Hugh McDermott, and NSW Parliamentarian for Granville Ms. Julie Finn too graced the event and enjoyed the celebration. 
The vizha started with making of Pongal and offering the Sun god. Our traditional nathaswaram and thavil accompanied the proceeding and took us to nostalgic memories. The Pongal hearth was lit by senior citizens of Sydney and everyone was given a chance to put a handful of rice into the Pongal pot. The Mayor, Councillor, and the Parliamentarians too joined with the others and put rice to the pot. Once the Pongal and prayers were offered to the Sun god, other celebrations started with hoisting of the national flag and the college flag. The Australian national flag was hoisted by the Holroyd Mayor and the college flag by Mr.S.Ponnampalam, former principal of Jaffna Hindu. That was followed by Tamil anthem, national anthem, and college song. Then the representatives of Holroyd Council and NSW Parliamentrians addressed the gathering. 
The cultural programmes started auspiciously with nathaswaram and thavil. Then there were variety of dances, Carnatic music, light music, and special speeches. The dances included folk dance, village dance by Tamil Youth Literary Forum, Bharatanatyam by students of Ajanthini Karthikeyan, and Nixon gave a solo Bharatanatyam Performance for an arousing song “Nalla Tamil peyarai pillaiku soodungal…”  The traditional percussion including parai was presented by Ranjith-malini troupe. In addition to the cultural programmes, there were many games and entertainments for all kind of people. There were craft workshops for kids on making garlands, kites, and putting kolam. The children were also treated with other entertainments such as jumping castle, face painting, and henna painting.  Prof.Gnana Kulendran delivered a special speech explaining the significance of Pongal celebration and the Tamil value system. She was very much touched by the elaborate arrangements made for Pongal that didn’t miss any tradition.
The organizers even didn’t miss the traditional games played on the Pongal day. There were a number of games organized for both kids and adults. The tug of war was held for kids, females, and males. Also, Sydney OBA hosted the Thiyagi Thileepan Volleyball match at the same venue. 
A variety of food stalls were also set up that catered to the tastes of different palates. There were hoppers, kothu, thosai, etc.  To quench the thirst, they had buttermilk stalls too. In addition, there were clothes and book stalls for the shoppers too. 
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