In December, the London Assembly voted to formally recognise and celebrate the achievements of the UK’s Tamil Community with a Tamil Heritage Month, marked in January by the Mayor and London’s boroughs. The 300,000 or so Tamils that live in the UK have made huge contributions to the social, economic, political and cultural fabric of the UK – especially the 15,000 workers of Tamil origin that have been supporting the NHS during the pandemic.
Nicholas Rogers AM, who proposed the motion said:
“Tamil Heritage Month is an opportunity to celebrate the history of London’s Tamil community and their invaluable contribution to our city. There’s a lot to celebrate, from Tamils serving in the Royal Air Force in the Second World War to the Tamil scientists, doctors and nurses helping our country battle coronavirus today.
“I’m pleased the London Assembly agreed this motion recognising the enormous contribution of the Tamil community ahead of the UK’s second Tamil Heritage Month in January next year.”
This Hindu harvest festival devoted to the Sun God Surya is celebrated in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and anywhere with a significant Tamil population. It’s named after the rice porridge prepared with milk and jaggery that those celebrating eat, traditionally made from the freshly harvested rice crop.
Celebrations begin with a day devoted to discarding old things and welcoming the new, complete with a bonfire. On the next day, people prepare the pongal together in a group, first offering it to the Gods before partaking themselves.
Cows and their horns are decorated, as thanks for them helping with the harvest, and they’re usually fed very well. People also like to decorate outside the entrances and around their homes with colourful kolam artwork created with rice powder.
Upcoming Events in the Community
The Noble Sage, an art gallery specialising in the works of artists from India and South East Asia, will be showcasing ten Tamil Artists from their collection with a special online exhibition.
11th-18th January 2022
Gopal’s corner, a restaurant in Victoria that specialises in Tamil Malay and Singaporean cuisine, will be hosting its annual Pongal lunch. Tickets only.
Saturday 15th January 2022