Tamil Heritage Festival celebrates Food, Culture, and Unity

Article by Jason Setnyk
Tamil Heritage Festival celebrates Food, Culture, and Unity
Student performer Thiyana Shanthakumar, Mayor Justin Towndale, and student performer Divinna Shanthakumar (Photo : Jason Setnyk)

Cornwall, Ontario – The auditorium at Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational School (CCVS) came alive with the vibrant colors, music, songs, poetry, and dance of the Tamil Heritage Festival on Sunday, February 18, 2024. The event, held in Cornwall, promoted unity among Tamils across the province during their traditional time of celebration.

The festival showcased an array of cultural performances, including song and dance, by entertainers from Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal, along with the participation of over a hundred Cornwall school children. The event also featured a presentation of awards for student competitions in art and public speaking, focusing on topics such as Tamil art, culture, history, and language.

Co-master of ceremonies Vamini Mohanathas expressed her deep connection to the event, stating, “The Tamil Heritage Festival is important to me. I grew up in this town and have done many events, but this is one of the big ones we’re doing as a community. Mayuran Mano, the other co-host here, organized this event. He’s been a spearhead for many years now. I’m a part of the next generation, stepping in for the first time, hosting it, being a part of it, and learning more about my culture. And I love this; we celebrate our culture and see genuine arts and history that is a part of our identity.”

The event commenced with welcoming speeches from the organizing committee and community leaders. The opening ceremonies included performers singing the Canadian and Tamil national anthems, a flag raising, followed by candle lighting.

Prominent politicians such as MP Eric Duncan, MPP Nolan Quinn, Cornwall Mayor Justin Towndale, and Cornwall City Councillors Sarah Good, Fred Ngoundjo, and Elaine MacDonald attended. MPP Nolan Quinn praised the event, saying, “The Tamil Heritage Festival is a great way for the community to come together and celebrate the rich cultural heritage of our Tamil community. I am always impressed at the talent of all of the youth who perform during any Tamil events held in Cornwall. The hospitality and culinary cuisine of the community is second to none.”

This year’s festival theme was ‘Food,’ offering attendees a chance to savor authentic Tamil delicacies during the intermission.

City Councillor Sarah Good also lauded the festival, stating, “The Tamil Heritage Festival was a beautiful showcasing of culture, tradition, food, and dance. It was a pleasure to be invited to join in the celebration and pride for the richness of Tamil culture in our community.”

The event was well attended by the Tamil community in Cornwall and area, included families and business owners who share a proud Tamil heritage.

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