Tamils in Maryland celebrate Pongal with great fervor

Members of the Tamil diaspora presenting a traditional dance performance on January 28, 2023, at the Bethesda Chevy Chase High School in Maryland. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

Bethesda, Maryland: The Tamil Sangam of Greater Washington hosted Pongal Day celebrations on January 28, 2023, at the Bethesda Chevy Chase High School, where members of the Tamil diaspora from the DMV area participated with great festive spirit dressing up in traditional attire and actively taking part in skits and competitions.

Counselor (Consular & Community Affairs) Anshul Sharma, Embassy of India, who delivered greetings on behalf of Ambassador Taranjit Sandhu, said, “Pongal is the festival which is celebrated across India in different names and forms… May this harvest festival bring good luck and prosperity for all. These festivals connect us to our roots, and it is always a pleasure to be amongst you.”

Consular & Community Affairs officer at Indian Embassy Anshul Sharma presenting gift cards to winners on behalf of the Embassy of India on January 28, 2023, at the Bethesda Chevy Chase High School in Maryland, at Pongal event. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

On behalf of the Embassy of India, Sharma also presented gift cards for winners who came first in three different competitions – rangoli, millet cooking, and a photo contest. The millet cooking competition was organized in association with the Embassy to celebrate the International Millet Day.


President of the Tamil Sangam, Hemappriya Ponnuvel (2021-22), told News India Times, “It was our great honor to host a special celebration of Pongal Day event with over 800 attendees, which was our biggest event since the pandemic. Despite the challenges of bringing guests from India, securing the venue and funding, I am thrilled that I was able to overcome these obstacles.”

Ponnuvel thanked community members, sponsors, and volunteers for making the event, filled with cultural performances and topped by a traditional spread of over 16 food varieties, a huge success.

TV host Gobinath Chandran hosting a “Neeya Naana” debate session on January 28, 2023, at the Bethesda Chevy Chase High School in Maryland. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

“It’s a great pleasure to witness our Diaspora coming together to celebrate Pongal Day in a grand way. The last time we celebrated was in 2020, and we couldn’t celebrate after that due to the pandemic. This is a celebration of Tamil culture and tradition where everyone here especially kids and students participate with great pride,” Past President of the Tamil Sangam (2017-18), Rajaram Srinivasan, told News India Times, while crediting Ponnuvel and her leadership for the event’s success.

On the occasion, special guests from Chennai, Siddha Consultant Dr. G. Anbuganapathi, talked about benefits of the Siddha Medicine while popular television hosts Gobinath Chandran hosted a special “Neeya Naana” debate session, and Aadhavan Kesavamurthi presented a stand-up comedy session. Rajan Natarajan of Global Alliant, and Selva Jayaraman of Business Integra from Maryland honored Tamil Sangam’s past presidents and board members for volunteer services.



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