Wednesday, January 1, 2014

SOPCA's annual multicultural event

சொப்காவின் பல்கலாச்சார விழா - 2014

SOPCA Kids performing a traditional folk dance during SOPCA's annual multicultural event on Sunday at the Square One Older Adult Centre. Mississauga.

Screen of Peel Community Association

Deepaavali, Christmas, New Year and Thai Pongal Celebration - 2014

Members of Peel's Tamil community held a multicultural event on Sunday last week at the Square One Older Adult Centre, in Mississauga. SCREEN of Peel Community Association, a Tamil cultural group of various religious and ethnic backgrounds gathered at the centre to mark multiple festive occasions. SCREEN stands for "Social, Cultural, Recreational, Educational and Environmental Network." The motto of the volunteer-based organization is to grow roots, nurture families, and build the community. 

The celebration commenced with lighting of the traditional lamp and then two minutes of silence. This was followed by the national anthem, Thamil Thai Vhalththu, the SOPCA anthem, and finally a welcome dance and deepam dance. Abhinaya Ranganathan and Thevany Narayanamoorthy emceed the celebration.

Some 200 people gathered on Sunday at the Square One Older Adult Centre for the Deepavali, Christmas, New Year’s, and Thai Pongal celebration. Thai Pongal is similar to Thanksgiving, a celebration that sees people thank the sun for a good harvest by presenting a dish made from freshly harvested rice. More specifically, it is
dedicated to the Sun God Surya and marks the beginning of the northward journey of the sun from its southernmost-limit, a movement referred to as ‘uttarayana’. Hindu Tamil’s generally gather at temple for special prayers during this period. You will often hear people saying "Thai Pirandhal Vazhi Pirakkum", which roughly translates to "the commencement of Thai paves the way for new opportunities".

“This is the fourth annual event in which we’re celebrating multiple cultural festivities," said Anthonypillai Jesuthasan, president of SOPCA. “It’s as much about getting the youth involved as it is about keeping the Tamil culture alive within the community.  It’s important to keep the community together through events like this one and to keep the youth engaged and learning about leadership,' he added.

"SOPCA does such a great job keeping Tamil culture alive, it's so important that the Tamil youth are proud of their culture", Mississauga East-Cooksville MPP Dipika Damerla told the audience.

Kuru Aravinthan, Vice President of SOPCA, performed the awards ceremony said the purpose of the event was to encourage people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds to celebrate together and to help the Tamil community in Peel to retain their culture.  "We want to encourage our community to get involved in these cultural events because we want to keep our Tamil language and our culture in Canada”, he explained. SOPCA also presented this year’s volunteer awards to two of its members, Dr. Sabapathipillai Rajaratnam and Mr. Richard Rajkumar for their exceptional contribution to the Tamil community.

The event concluded with a serving of various Tamil foods and a vote of thanks by secretary of SOPCA, Yaaleni Vijayakumar for everyone’s support and contributions.

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