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Sault Ste. Marie's Small Tamil Community Hosted A Grand New Year Program
"In 2006, there was only one Tamil person in Sault Ste. Marie - now it has 90 members. In the past few years, Tamil people have started businesses and increased employment opportunities in this small Canadian city."
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Pongal is usually the biggest day of the year in the Tamil Community (It's the week of the harvest festival in January). While Tamil New Year, celebrated on April 14th, is the second-largest celebration for the Community.  
 
Just like January is the first month of the Gregorian calendar, Chittirai is the first month of the Tamil calendar, and the 14th of April is the first day of this month. Tamil New Year represents the end of the old year, and the leaving behind all the problems that might have marred the year before, in the hopes that this coming year is your best year yet! 
 
The Tamil community is growing slowly in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. In 2006, there was only one Tamil person in Sault Ste. Marie - now it has 90 members. In the past few years, Tamil people have started businesses and increased employment opportunities in this small Canadian city and local residents have been welcoming and friendly.

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Algoma University students Giridharan Venkatapathy and Navesh Kanna, were the only Tamil students in the University for a long time. With the support of local Tamil Businesses and families they were able to arrange a grand Tamil New Year Program this year.
 
We drew Kolam in front of the Program Hall, following our traditional customs (a geometric line drawing composed of straight lines, curves, and loops, drawn around a grid pattern of dots). Kolams are usually drawn using coarse rice flour. This is meant to invite ants, birds and other small creatures to eat it, thus welcoming other beings into one’s home. It is a sign meant to invite living creatures into your life, in the hopes that Lakshmi, the Goddess of prosperity and wealth, will follow. 
 
The event started with everyone standing for "Tamil Thai Vazhthu" (Tamil Anthem). Followed by a prayer, where everyone came towards the deity to perform puja to Lord Ganesha and Lakshmi. Small kids sang several Tamil songs to the Lord. 
 
After the Prayers, a few games were played. It started with "Pattukku Pattu" where the adults joined in groups to sing songs competing with other groups, and everyone had fun. Followed by kids games where young children actively participated in a few common games. 
 
Dinner was served in a buffet system, where traditional Tamil food was served. 
The event was a great networking point where new Sault Tamil People connected for the first time in Sault Ste. Marie. The event concluded with a Speech by Hariram Mukundan, the oldest member of the Sault Tamil Community.

 

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