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Embassy of Sri Lanka Washington DC

Washington, DC, January 21,2014 : Sri Lanka Embassy , Washington DC together with the US-Sri Lankan Hindu community celebrated Thai Pongal, the traditional Hindu harvest festival on Wednesday (Jan 15).  Keeping with the tradition of celebrating important days of all four major religions observed by Sri Lankans, the Embassy commences its event calendar every year by hosting  Thai Pongal. 


The word "Thai" refers to the first month of the Tamil Hindu calendar and "Pongal" refers to the thanksgiving festival of farmers to the Sun God for helping them to reap a bountiful harvest. Thai Pongal is the foremost religious festival celebrated mainly by the Tamil community in Sri Lanka.

The proceedings of the event commenced with lighting of  the traditional oil lamp by Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya and  Sri Lankan - American community representatives.

Ambassador Wickramasuriya welcomed the gathering and reaffirmed the embassy's commitment to serve the Sri Lankan community in the United States.

He said the Pongal celebration is also an occasion  to contemplate  the continued peace in Sri Lanka and the Sri Lakan community in the United States can help to further strengthen it.

 "It is an occasion to reflect on the peace in Sri Lanka, and pray for the continuation of lasting peace and reconciliation. Our own genuine efforts to join hands and unite as Sri Lankans living in the US can offer valuable support to the peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka", he said.

Ambassador Wickramasuriya during his remarks also recognized  two prominent  Tamil community leaders, Swami Sivanatha Kurukkal  and Mrs. Kanaga Ranganthan for their long and unreserved service to the Sri Lankan American community in the United States.

Swami Sivanatha Kurukkal  made the offerings to Lord Ganesh and Deities according to the Hundu tradition.  He offered blessings to the President of Sri Lanka and the US, the people of the two nations and all in the gathering.

Mrs. Kanaga Ranganthan made a special talk on the "Significance of Thai Pongal".

In her remarks Mrs. Ranganthan made a special reference to the rich diversity of Sri Lanka and the ability of its people to find unity amidst the diversity.  

" We have to consider pretty strongly that Sri Lanka is a country that is richly endowed with the diversity of people, diversity of culture, diversity of faiths, diversity of everything and it owes us as children of God to find unity in this diversity. And this unity that we can find in the diversity in the population that we are richly endowed with in Sri Lanka will bring us eternal joy, peace, bliss and serenity." , she said.

Also, Mrs. Ranganthan thanked Ambassador Wickramasuriya and the Embassy staff for hosting a colorful Thai Pongal celebration once again this year.

The guests enjoyed a traditional Sri Lankan vegetarian dinner following the formal  proceedings of the ceremony.   

Photos:

  • Embassy staff members prepare the traditional "Kolom" for the Thai Pongal ceremony at the Embassy of Sri Lanka , Washington , Jan 15, 2014 .
  • Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya delivers the welcome speech at the Thai Pongal ceremony hosted by the Embassy of Sri Lanka , Washington , Jan 15, 2014 .
  • Swami Sivanatha Kurukkal conducts religious prayers according to the Hindu traditions at the Thai Pongal ceremony organized by the Embassy of Sri Lanka , Washington , Jan 15, 2014.
  • Religious activities Swami Sivanatha Kurukkal blesses Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya during the Hindu prayers at the Thai Pongal ceremony organized by the Embassy of Sri Lanka ,Washington, Jan 15, 2014.
  • US- Sri Lank Hindu community members attending religious activities at the Thai Pongal ceremony organized by the Embassy of Sri Lanka , Washington , Jan 15, 2014.
  • Mrs. Kanaga Ranganthan delivers speech on the topic "Significance of Thai Pongal" at the Pongal ceremony organized by the Embassy of Sri Lanka , Washington , Jan 15, 2014.
  • A section of the audience at the annual Thai Pongal ceremony hosted by the Embassy of Sri Lanka , Washington , Jan 15, 2014.
  • Guests enjoy the Sri Lankan vegetarian dinner at the annual Thai Pongal ceremony hosted by the Embassy of Sri Lanka , Washington , Jan 15, 2014
  • Guests attending the annual Thai Pongal ceremony hosted by the Embassy of Sri Lanka , Washington , Jan 15, 2014

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Embassy of Sri Lanka Washington DC

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