Full text of the message:
Sri Lanka’s Hindus join their fellow Tamil religionists in most countries of the world today to celebrate Thai Pongal the traditional Thanksgiving and Harvest festival of the Hindu religious calendar.
It is the tradition at this festival to offer thanks to Surya – the Sun God, for the blessings received for a successful harvest. The Pongal or the boiling of milk and rice is another important aspect of this festival, which is also referred to as the Surya Mangalyam or the Festival of the Sun God, for all blessings received for success in agriculture and all aspects of livelihood.
Thai Pongal is marked by the Hindus of Sri Lanka with the coming together of families in a spirit of renewed affection and understanding, with offers of thanksgiving to the Sun God for continued blessings in the future.
The second day of this festival follows the great tradition where the cattle used for ploughing, transport, to obtain milk and fertilizer are garlanded for their service to the people.
This festival marks the traditional renewal of links between humans, the deities and nature and the unity of people in worship and thanksgiving for blessings received, with abundant hope for success in the future.
I am especially pleased to issue this message at the very beginning of my term of office, with Metta, loving kindness and the cultivation of benevolence, for peace, unity and prosperity among our people.
I wish all the Hindus of Sri Lanka a Happy and Blessed Thai Pongal.