Tamil People Enjoy New Year Festivities

Most of us are well past the thrill of New Year’s celebrations, but for Tamil people the New Year is barely a month old. Tamil Makkal in Calgary (TMC) held their Chithirai Event on April 19 to ring in the first month, Chithirai, of the Tamil year. The party featured dinner, entertainment, a DJ, raffles sponsored by Salon Luminous and Marina Dosa and Tandoori Grill and cash prizes funded by ASI 94.7 FM.

TMC is a Facebook based group with over 200 members that helps “Tamil language speaking people from India to meet and network in a social setting.” This was their second gala, and each event will “help our fellow Tamilians set up in a new country, make long lasting friendships and have a good time as a community.”

Hindu New Year occurs in mid-April with the arrival of spring in South Asia. Traditionally, celebrations include wearing new clothes, exchanging sweets, gifts and greetings of goodwill. Hindus also clean their homes and decorate entryways with colorful “symbols of auspiciousness” known as kolam, visit temples to ask for blessings and have astrologers read the family fortune for the year.

Tamil2Another custom involves kani or “first seeing.” On New Year’s Eve a display is set up featuring money, jewels, clothing, plants, flowers, fruits and sweets with a shrine featuring Hindu deities in the center. The next day, the family matriarch wakes each household member one by one, blindfolds them, takes them to the display and reveals it. Everyone’s first sight of the year is then filled with prosperity and good fortune.

Event organizer Shailendra Rao says they used Facebook, posters, radio advertising and ticket selling through one of their sponsors to get the word out about the party, which netted several memorable moments. “Some of the key highlights were the performances,” he notes. “We had several dance performances, a skit, speeches, a kids fashion show, many song performances and games. And, a DJ gave the chance for many from the audience to shake a leg to peppy numbers.”

Tamil

Rao believes that “planning an event needs a lot of groundwork,” but if you stay organized and ask for help everything will go well. “A checklist is required to complete the tasks,” he explains. “Calling upon sponsors to help and using volunteers are major requirements. Proper coordination with different volunteers and ensuring everybody does their part is very important in conducting an event of this scale.”

How do you recruit performers for your events?