This message is to congratulate all celebrating the festival of Thai Pongal, which is celebrated worldwide by Tamils, including the large and growing Tamil Canadian community.
As you all know, Thai Pongal is a harvest festival – one in which thanks are offered for what has been reaped and for the life-giving sun.
It is a time of gratitude for the abundant blessings bestowed on us by God, and of hope for the New Year as witnessed by the recent winter solstice.
At Pongal we leave behind what is past and open ourselves to the new.
For all of us, Thai Pongal this year is a special occasion as we rededicate ourselves to the cause and principles of peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, where conflict and the legacy of conflict have continued for far too long.
Pongal is a time of generosity and sharing, when the goodwill that reflects humanity at its best enlivens us as individuals, our families and communities.
I want to thank the Durham Tamil Association and Tamil Cultural & Academic Society of Durham for inviting me to participate in their Thai Pongal celebrations this weekend. My wife Hedvig, our daughters Selma and Elisabeth and I throughly enjoyed the festivities.
On behalf of the government of Canada and my family, I wish to extend warm personal greetings to all of you who are celebrating Thai Pongal – and to wish you and your families peace and prosperity for 2012.
Yours very truly,