You’ve probably read somewhere that January is Tamil Heritage Month.
If you haven’t, I can fix that - January is Tamil Heritage Month.
I can’t read minds (unless you count knowing when my mom’s going to yell at me), but I can probably guess what’s running through yours.
“What is Tamil Heritage Month?”
A quick search comes up with this.
“Tamil Heritage Month is an observance in Canada meant to celebrate the rich cultural contributions of the Tamil community throughout January. It aims to raise awareness and appreciation for Tamil heritage, traditions, and history.”
Well sure, that sounds cool, but what does it actually mean? And why should you care?
Without Googling, name two famous Tamil people that aren’t actors or singers.
Growing up a 2nd Generation Canadian, my identity was split between being Tamil and being Canadian - and it sucked seeing some of my friends hold their Tamil identity in low regard.
But in hindsight, can you blame them? We rarely celebrate Tamil accomplishments - especially in the Diaspora.
How many of us know that Bianka Macmillan set the Ontario U13 80M Hurdles Record back in August?
How many of us know that Pradeepan Peter-Paul represented Canada in the 2008 Beijing Olympics?
Forget about the big accomplishments for a second, how many of us celebrate our people for leaving their lives behind and overcoming countless barriers to not only survive, but thrive in Canada?
Many of them came to this country with nothing but hope and a couple dollars in their pockets - but they still made it work.
As 2nd Generation Tamil-Canadians, it’s important we repay their sacrifices, not by forcing ourselves into a life we don’t like - but by making the most of the opportunities in front of us.
Diaspora Tamils aren’t in need of an extra doctor, lawyer or accountant (my mom would beg to differ), but what we do need are people passionate about their dreams.
More from Mayuran:
We need a generation of Tamils that feel like they’re capable of anything - and most importantly, grow up feeling represented in whatever path they choose to walk.
In other words, we need people proud of their Tamil identity and Tamil Heritage Month is an awesome way to educate ourselves on what that identity means.
This year, it’s important we celebrate not just in words - but action as well, by both recognizing how far we’ve grown as Tamils and figuring out how we can add to the growing list of accomplishments of our people.