Justin Trudeau Wins Hearts With Pongal Celebrations in Canada

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wore a veshti and a yellow silk shirt for the occasion.


In a gesture that won netizens, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau donned a white dhoti, called veshti in South India, and a yellow silk shirt when he celebrated Pongal with Canadian Tamils in Scarborough on Jan.17. The celebration also featured Pongal – a delicacy made of rice and lentils. Canada is currently observing the Tamil Heritage Month.

The Liberal Party leader, in order to encourage a multi-cultural Canada, is known for celebrating many Indian festivals with Canadian Indians, and participated in Diwali, Eid and Baisakhi festivities in the past.

The Mayor of Toronto, John Tory, was also present, and he and Trudeau interacted with members of the Tamil community during the harvest festival celebrations.

Trudeau uploaded a video on his Twitter feed, in which he said: “Thai Pongal is a time to give thanks for the many gifts of the harvest. It’s a chance to come together with friends and family and celebrate peace, abundance, and happiness. Iniya Thai Pongal Nalvazhthukkal!”

“Iniya Thai Pongal Nalvazhthukkal” is a celebration wish that means, “Sweet Pongal Greetings.”

About 157,000 Tamils are estimated to be living in Canada, accoording to Census 2016 figures.

Trudeau celebrated Pongal in 2016 as well. However, during his Diwali celebrations last year, he was criticized when he said “Diwali Mubarak” in one of his tweets.

Trudeau is known for celebrating different Indian cultures and faiths in order to celebrate togetherness in Canada. “Thank you Justin Trudeau! Bringing all the nations of the world together in thoughtful discussions. Canada is a beacon of light and hope in the world,” a user commented on Facebook.

“Undoubtedly best leader of this world, as an Indian I never knew meaning of this word nor celebrate Pongal in my region. But kudos to you for celebrating Indian festival in Canada,” said another.

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