President, PM note importance of human values on Thai Pongal

President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe reminded noted the importance of human values as Hindus in Sri Lanka celebrate Thai Pongal today.

In his Thai Pongal message, President Maithripala Sirisena said that since the dawn of civilization, humanity’s devotion to the sun that symbolizes the wholeness of nature has remained intact.

He said that from among the many traditional festival and rituals of Hindus in veneration of the sun, Thai Pongal is the foremost festival that marks the supreme status the Hindus have bestowed upon the sun throughout history.

“Thai Pongal is rendered colourful by the fact that it allows us to show our gratitude to nature and renew our hopes devotedly. Depicting the broad span of the Hindus culture evident, the devotees mark Thai Pongal as an occasion to be thankful, not only to the sun for giving us warmth, timely rain and bountiful harvests, but also to the cattle by feasting of cows, for providing us with milk,” he said.

The President said that festivals such as these rekindle the contract between man and the gifts of nature, while epitomizing the enormity of the human gratefulness.

“As the world look forward to move in the direction of sustainability, the message transmitted by Thai Pongal since antiquity, becomes ever more relevant. I wish a happy and a prosperous Thai Pongal festival to the Hindus in Sri Lanka and abroad,” he said.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his Thai Pongal message said that the festival that started as a celebration of the first harvest during the time of Chola kings in South India, has today become a major religious festival  commemorated by Tamils living all over the world.

“The rising of the sun is observed as the dawning of the New Year at Thai Pongal – it also signifies the strong bond maintained in agrarian communities with nature – the sun, the rain and the animals who contribute towards a bountiful harvest,” he said.

The Prime Minister said the Thai Pongal Festival shows us the value of sustainability in a diverse community while reminding us of the importance of gratitude and strong bonds.

“I take this opportunity to wish all those celebrating Thai Pongal Festival prosperity and good wishes; in a spirit that truly celebrates unity in diversity, one that reaffirms our capacity as a nation to face the challenges of tomorrow as one people,” he said. (Colombo Gazette)