Helen Grant MP and Maidstone Borough Councillor Lottie Parfitt-Reid were welcomed by the Tamil community with their traditional respectful greeting ‘Vanakkam’ as they arrived at the Thai Pongal celebrations this weekend.
The Hindu harvest festival is one of the most important events celebrated by the Tamils. It marks the end of the winter solstice, giving thanks to the Sun god and recognising the beginning of a return to weather that helps harvest and agriculture in the coming year.
Helen said ‘I was really touched to be invited to share in the celebration with so many Tamil families who had gathered together from around West Kent in the village of Coxheath. The ladies wore such gorgeous traditional dress and we enjoyed dance, singing and the ritual making of a sweet rice dish simmered in milk in a clay pot over an open fire. The ambience was fabulous and the people so warm and welcoming’.
Lottie said ‘It was an absolute honour for Helen and I to be so warmly welcomed by the Tamil community, to celebrate their beautiful and vibrant Thai Pongal celebration in Coxheath’.