Jaffna Hindu Sydney OBA celebrated Pongal grandiosely: 700 Participated
Posted on: 20/01/2013 (Sunday)
Sydney OBA together with Tamil Merchants of Sydney hosted a grand Pongal Vizha in Sydney that reflected the Tamil culture and traditions strongly. It was held on Sunday (20th January 2013) morning at the Pendle Hill Civic Park, Sydney.
The idea of celebrating Pongal hatched in the minds of Sydney OBA and was made possible by the Tamil Merchants of Sydney who were equally enthusiastic about the idea and were generous enough to come forward to sponsor the event. The Sydney OBA opines that festivals like this would help to inculcate Tamil cultures and traditions and their value systems in our younger generation.
Equal to a festivity mood you would see anywhere in a Tamil homeland was seen in Pendle Hill yesterday. It was a historical moment to see all Tamils irrespective of their nativity or nationality coming together to celebrate this Tamil festival in Sydney. There were around 700 to 800 people of all age group. It was very warming to see the Councillors of Holroyd City Council Clr.Lisa Lake and Clr.Joseph Rahme gracing the event. Former councillor Mr.Vashee too joined the celebration.
It was so touching to see all traditions of a Pongal festival are followed in the celebration in a foreign land. The arrangements for Pongal started at the wee hours of yesterday though there were predictions of rain. But the weather god did not disappoint the organizers; he gave way for people to enjoy the festivity spirit. The arrangements started with the decoration of the park and preparation of Pongal hearth area. The civic park was decorated in a traditional way with festoons (தோரணம்) and decorative scaffolds. Plantain trees with full bunch of ripe plantains adorned both sides of the entrance with mango leaf festoons. As you entered in to the park, the lord Saraswathy welcomed all from the cut-out, reminding the Cumuraswamy Hall entrance. The Pongal platform was decorated with kolams and sugarcanes.
The vizha started with hoisting of flags. The Australian National flag was hoisted by Clr. Lisa Lake, Jaffna Hindu College flag was hoisted by former Principal Mr.S.Ponnampalam, and Mr. Vignarajah of Pendle Hill Fish Market hoisted the flag on behalf of Tamil Merchants of Sydney. The Pongal hearth was lit by senior citizens of Sydney. Everyone was given a chance to put a handful of rice into the Pongal pot. The Clr. Lisa Lake too joined the others. Once the Pongal and prayers were offered to the Sun god, the cultural programmes started with Tamil Anthem. There were speeches, songs, and dance. The parents of young kids were overjoyed when the kids were given awareness about Pongal, its legend and traditions. It was conducted in English by Mr.Sanjeevan Prabhakar. There were two invitees from India who gave special speeches. Prof.Vijayalakshmi Ramasamy, former professor of Stella Mary’s College, Chennai, spoke about Festivals of Tamils. Prof P. Jeyaprakasam of Madras Tamil University and an editor of Kalasuvadu spoke about Pongal and Tamils. Our traditional Thavil and Nathaswaram was another highlight of the event. There were also people in costumes depicting deities and historical characters such as Pillaiyar, Sivan, Paravathy, Krishna, Bala Murugan, Brahma, and Ravanan walking in the park and mingling with children. The whole environment and all the programmes had a strong flavour of Tamil culture and traditions that we could see parents proudly explaining their kids about our long existed culture.
There were special programme for the youngsters too to educate them on Tamil arts and crafts such as drawing kolam, garland making, making festoons with coconut leafs, and making kites. The children also treated with other entertainments such as jumping castle, face painting, and henna painting. There was a mini zoo too.
OBA Sydney also had a special Jaffna Hindu College stall and gave free raffle tickets, gifts for children, and face painting and henna painting for free. Even adults were seen in the huge line up waiting to get their hands painted with henna. To quench the thirst, drinks also were provided freely from the stall. Everyone enjoyed the free cups of fruit juices, soft drinks, sherbet, falooda, and also buttermilk and jaggery water.
There were additionally food stalls and book stalls too. The wish of nearly all the people was that this Pongal Vizha should continue every year in future.
The same sentiment was expressed by Theepan, the Secretary of the Sydney OBA too. In his vote of thanks, he expressed Sydney OBA’s desire to make this an annual event. He thanked the Tamil Merchants of Sydney profusely for their generous contribution in making the event a grand success, and requested the support to continue to take forward the Pongal Vizha annually.
இன்று யாழ்ப்பாணம் இந்துக் கல்லூரி பழைய மாணவர் சங்கத்தினரின் (சிட்னி கிளை) மாபெரும் பொங்கல் விழாவினைக் கண்டு களிக்கும் சந்தர்ப்பம் கிடைத்தது.விழா அலங்காரங்கள், சோடனைகள் மட்டுமல்ல, அங்கு இடம்பெற்ற ஒவ்வொரு கலை நிகழ்வும் எமது தமிழ்க் கலாசாரம் மற்றும் விழுமியங்களைப் பிரதிபலிப்பதாக அமைந்தமை, நிச்சயமாகப் பாராட்டப்பட வேண்டியது. குறிப்பாக கிராமிய நடன நிகழ்வு, பாடகர்கள் வழங்கிய திரை இசைப் பாடல்கள் மற்றும் பொங்கல் பற்றிய சிறப்புரைகள் இவற்றை எல்லாம் பார்த்து ரசித்துக் கொண்டிருக்கும் போது, முற்று முழுதாக எமது செழுமை மிக்க தமிழ் கலாசார சூழலுக்குள் மூழ்கிய சுகம் கிடைத்தது!
இந்த புலம்பெயர் சூழலில் பிறந்த சிறுவர், சிறுமியர்க்காக, ஆங்கிலத்தில் பொங்கல் பற்றி விளக்கமளிக்கப்பட்ட நிகழ்வு இவ்விழாவின் இன்னொரு முக்கிய அம்சம். மிகவும் அவசியமான ஒரு பணி.
ஆக, இது யாழ். இந்து பழைய மாணவரின் முதலாவது பொங்கல் விழா என்று சொல்ல முடியாத அளவுக்கு சிறப்பாக அமைந்தது என்று தான் சொல்ல வேண்டும். இதற்காக அவர்களை வாழ்த்துவதற்கோ, பாராட்டுவதற்கோ உரிய தகுதி எனக்கு இல்லை. ஆகவே, என் உளம் நெகிழ்ந்த நன்றிகளை மட்டும் தெரிவித்துக் கொள்கிறேன். கோடி நன்றிகள்!இவ்வாறன விழாக்கள் ஒவ்வொரு வருடமும் தொடர வேண்டும் என்பதே எனது அவா - வேணு