In a historic first for the Tamil community in Australia, Pongal festivities reached the Federal Parliament in 2017. The efforts of the Tamil Arts and Culture Association paid off as the evening of 14 February saw a gala event at the Parliament House in Canberra.
Community members, senators, MPs, staff and all present enjoyed the vivid display of song, dance, poetry and music. The youngsters put together a well-scripted sketch that highlighted the importance of Pongal, the harvest festival of giving thanks to the land, the Sun, and the cattle.
Though belated, it was the first time that Pongal was celebrated along with the lawmakers in Canberra, and to show their support and enthusiasm, the Tamil community had gathered here from different states. Support for the community also came in from all sides of the parliament with visits and congratulatory speeches from the likes of Senator Zed Seselja, MP Tony Burke, MP Julie Owens, Senator Richard Di Natale, Senator Lee Rhiannon, etc. who appreciated the beauty of the tradition and the Tamil language and culture.
All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable evening that ended on a sweet note with a taste of Pongal rice lovingly cooked by the community members.
Continuing the celebrations, another event to celebrate Pongal was organised by Tamil Arts and Culture Association at NSW Parliament on February 16.
The function was attended by Tamil community in large along with other Indian community members and parliamentarians.