Tamil Nadu

Virginia passes resolution designating Pongal Day

So far, Pongal has only been a festival in the regional language almanac for Tamils in Virginia. But now, the harvest festival has been officially recognised by the American State’s general assembly as a festival like Deepavali. Virginia has a Tamil population of about 40,000 people.

“A resolution introduced by delegate David Bulova (D-Fairfax) was approved by the general assembly on February 14, 2017. With the passage of the resolution, the Commonwealth of Virginia has designated January 14 in 2018 and in each succeeding year as Pongal Day in Virginia,” said A. Sriskandarajah, legal advisor to the Valluvan Tamil Academy (VTA) and part of the team that worked to make this possible.

“Though it will not be a holiday, school children can stay on at home and celebrate the festival as the U.S. permits freedom of religions. This will also open the door for other Indian communities to have their cultures, traditions and faiths recognised in the U.S.,” he added.

Baskar Kumaresan, president, VTA, said they had approached delegate David Bulova, who was willing to support a Bill in the General Assembly, after three months of related processes, Virginia's governor gave his assent.

“This will provide Tamils of Virginia an opportunity to celebrate and share our rich heritage, culture, language and history. Mr. Bulova explained in the General Assembly that Pongal is similar to Thanksgiving Day. Committee members in both the House and Senate were deeply moved and inspired by our Tamil Heritage and the resolution was approved unanimously. The Tamil community is deeply indebted to him,” Mr. Sriskandarajah said. The VTA has 1,250 members and teaches Tamil to students.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2022 9:32:24 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/virginia-passes-resolution-designating-pongal-day/article18158198.ece