Sunday, January 15, 2012

Thai Pongal ~ The festival to celebrate prosperity

Much awaited moment ~ the "Spill Over"

தைப் பொங்கல் ~ Thai Pongal is celebrated on 15th of January 2012 by the Tamils all over the world. It’s a festival of thanks giving. It is also known as harvest festival. The month of Thai is considered auspicious by the Tamils, which will last from 15th of January 2012 to 13th of February 2012. Weddings take place during the month of Thai.

Traditional values are rapidly disappearing from practice. We ought to preserve them for many generations to come" shares Indumathy Kanagasabapathipillai.

Vermilion,holy ash and sandalwood are considered auspicious by the Hindus

There is a famous saying in Tamil “தை பிறந்தால் வழி பிறக்கும்” ~ “Thai Piranthaal Vazhi Pirakkum”-It means the birth of the month of Thai will pave the way. Sweet rice is made and offered to Sun God at the temples and houses on this day. Special poojas are held and devotees throng the temples to get the blessings on the first day of the Tamil month of Thai.

இனிய பொங்கல் வாழ்த்துக்கள் ~ Happy Thai Pongal greetings written in Tamil with wheat flour and turmeric powder

Pre ~ dawn view of Arulmigu Sri Venkadeswara Mahavishnumoorthy Devasthaanam in Nedimala ~ Dehiwala

Turmeric Pillaiyaar made for Thai Pongal

Gorgeous green and white garlands for the festival

Dazzling sculptures depicting legends in Hinduism

Just before the "Spill Over"

Sun God is beautifully drawn by Senthilnatha Sharma

The chief priest of Arulmigu Sri Venkadeswara Mhavishnumoorthy Devasthaanam Somaskantha Chandrakantha Kurukkal is offering the traditional camphor lamp to the Sun God

Just cooked sweet rice

Sunrise in Nedimala ~ Dehiwala

Sweet rice is traditionally served on fresh banana leaf and offered to the Sun God in Bambalapitty

Vadai ~ savoury is a must serve on Thai Pongal day

Baby cots are offered as a vow by the parents

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Continuous counselling is needed in the north

I lost by my parents during the war. My elder brother, elder sister and I were living with my uncle and aunt in Maankulam in Vanni district, North of Sri Lanka. We lost our aunt who went to the nearby boutique to buy essentials during the last phase of the war" laments Sutharshana Kanthasamy (16). She wants to be a teacher.

Sutharshana Kanthasamy (16) and her elder sister Sulakshana Kanthasamy

Her elder sister Sulakshana Kanthasamy finished her higher studies, but unable to continue further as nobody supports her.

I just idle. I wanted to study further and become a doctor. Since I lost my parents, I feel helpless” shares Sulakshana Kanthasamy (20).

Roman Catholic Father Damian Soosaipillai and his team of eight counsellors work in 21 villages in Jaffna. Father Damian Soosaipillai has been involved with psycho ~ social activities in the Jaffna Peninsula since 1980s.

Children affected by the prolonged war need continuous counselling. Some of these children have lost their both parents, and others have lost either their mother or father. Many of them are still suffering from psychological problems. It’s an uphill battle to get them back to lead a normal life. I am also concerned not to create dependency” shares Father Damian Soosaipillai.

Sutharshana Kanthasamy and her sister Sulakshana Kanthasamy live with their uncle, who has been a farmer in Maankulam in Vanni district. But he does not want to relocate himself as the memories of war haunt him continuously.

Photo shows their parents taken at their elder brother's birthday party many years ago

Both sisters had many dreams, but they are shattered and feel their dreams will never come true.