Students Thaipongal festival organized Office for National Unity & Reconciliation

ONUR together with Ministry of Education had recently initiated a programme to ensure the main religious festivals are celebrated in all schools .The programme was launched to coincide with the Thai Pongal festival. This festival is celebrated by one and all as it is non-relevance to any particular religious faith. The whole Tamil population of the world celebrates it without any differences. Therefore it is widely known as "Tamil Thai Pongal" or the "Festival of the Tamils". The rest of the people celebrate the festival to pay their thanks to the farmers for the production of food. Overall, it is a festival to encourage social cohesiveness and unite people by bringing them together in a common function.

In Northern province, Thai Pongal festivals for students, organized with Northern Provincial Council's Ministry of Education and Cultural Department, Northern province . It was celebrated in Jaffna District on Friday, 15 January 2016 at Ramanathan College, Chunnakam   to enable students from various backgrounds to learn about and appreciate each other's cultural and religious festivals and to create awareness on events of cultural and religious significance, to be introduced among students of all communities in Sri Lanka With the participation of Former President Hon. Chandrika Bandaranayke Kumaratunga.

Ten different programmes were staged with the participation of over 1500 students, teachers and parents at several schools. The programmes helped the students of different faiths learn more about the Tamil Thai Pongal festival and also celebrate it with their Tamil friends. It is the children who will set the path of how our future generations will live and this kind of proposal where efforts are taken to bridge the gap between the children of different communities will help ensure a more united Sri Lanka in the years ahead.

On the day(15), the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR) along with Northern Provincial Council's Ministry of Education, organized a series of Thai Pongal festivals at the following schools in the Northern province,

  1. Ramanathan College, Jaffna
  2. Chemmalai Maha Vidyalaya, Mullaitivu
  3. Tamil Maha Vidyalaya,Vavuniya
  4. Sithy Vinayagar Hindu College, Mannar
  5. Vivekananda VIdyalayam, Kilinochchi

Commencing with Thai Pongal festival in January 2016, the programme will specifically cover 8 culturally and religiously important celebrations to foster intra and inter ethnic, religious, cultural understanding and mutual respect among school children. ONUR will work closely with the respective school networks both National and Provincial in carrying out this initiative. Arts and Culture as a means to achieve national unity and reconciliation is a key long term initiative of ONUR, which will work in partnership with a diverse group of artistes from various fields of Arts and Culture in Sri Lanka.

Secretary

Mr. R. Varatheeswaran
Secretary of Education, Cultural Affairs, Sports and Youth Affairs

Education Ministry Office,
Chemmany Road, Nallur, Jaffna, Sri Lanka
Tel:+94-21-221 9259
Fax: +94-21-222 0794
Mobile: 077 694 4144
Email: varatheeswaran@gmail.com

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