OTTAWA: January as Tamil Heritage Month in Canada. Thousands of Tamils celebrated throughout the month with cultural programs highlighting the rich heritage of the community, which has its roots in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka.
Approximately 200,000 Tamil people call Canada home. The theme of this year’s Tamil Heritage Month is “Tamils in Trade and Commerce.”
Tamil Heritage Month is celebrated in January to coincide with the celebration of Thai Pongal, a Tamil harvest festival, as well as other Tamil artistic and cultural events.
The community held a program on Parliament Hill to celebrate the month. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau posted some pictures and tweeted: “Canada is the proud home of one of the largest Tamil diasporas in the world. As Tamil Heritage Month comes to an end, Prime Minister Trudeau took the opportunity to celebrate Tamil culture and heritage and Tamil Canadians’ contributions to building a more inclusive Canada.”
“One of the best ways to end the day – celebrating Tamil culture and heritage with Tamil Canadians. Your contributions to our country demonstrate how diversity really is our strength, and I’m glad I could spend some time with you all this evening. Happy Tamil Heritage Month!”
Pierre Poilievre, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and the Official Opposition, released the following statement on Tamil Heritage Month:
“From the earliest days of civilization, the culture and traditions of the Tamil people have been passed down through the centuries to the modern day, inspiring millions of people in India, Sri Lanka, and all around the world. In Canada, January 1 marks the beginning of Tamil Heritage Month, a time for all Canadians to celebrate the countless contributions of Tamils to our country, and to honour the beauty and richness of Tamil heritage.
“Despite facing unspeakable acts of evil and oppression, especially in the 20th century, Tamils have steadfastly championed their traditions and culture. When the Sri Lankan civil war broke out in 1983, Tamils boldly fought for their freedom to live in peace and dignity. They have stood by their unique identity and defended their heritage in the face of overwhelming opposition.
“This month, Canadians take time to honour those who continue to seek justice for the Tamil community. As we call for political prisoners to be released, and demand that the war criminals who perpetrated atrocities against the Tamils be brought to justice, we celebrate that efforts to rob the world of this incredible culture have utterly failed.
“Canada will always be a friend and ally to the Tamil community, and I look forward to deepening our partnerships in the years to come. Happy Tamil Heritage Month.”
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser said: “The Parliament Hill celebration was a great opportunity to acknowledge and honour the significant contributions made by Tamil Canadians to our nation. Wishing everyone a joyful Tamil Heritage Month!”
Minister of National Defence Anita Anand said: “Canada is home to one of the world’s largest Tamil diasporas. As a Tamil Canadian myself, I join our community in celebrating our Tamil heritage and culture – and our community’s many contributions to building a stronger and more inclusive Canada”.
Minister of Housing and Diversity & Inclusion, Ahmed Hussen and some of his cabinet colleagues joined Tamil Canadians on Parliament Hill to celebrate Tamil Heritage Month. He later tweeted: “Thank you for the beautiful display of your culture!:
Hussen said in a statement: January is Tamil Heritage Month in Canada, a time to reflect on the rich history, culture, resiliency, and strength of Tamil communities across the country.
“Canada is the proud home of one of the largest Tamil diasporas in the world, and Canadians of Tamil heritage have been instrumental in making it the country it is today. Whether it’s in the world of business, politics, the arts, or other fields, Tamil communities continue to play a vital and inspiring role in our society.
“Over the course of this month, members of the Tamil community will come together to celebrate the many great contributions that they have made and continue to make, and it serves as an opportunity for everyone to acknowledge and honour their tremendous achievements. As Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, and on behalf of the Government of Canada, I invite Canadians from coast to coast to coast to join in on the celebrations and to learn more about the Tamil language and culture throughout the month of January and beyond. Happy Tamil Heritage Month!”
Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly joined the Montreal’s Tamil community earlier in the month to mark Thai Pongal and to celebrate Tamil Heritage month, honouring all the contributions, culture, and rich history the community has to offer.
She tweeted on Monday: “As Tamil Heritage Month concludes, we’re reminded of the indelible mark the community has made on Canada..
“Canada will always be ready to support a path towards peace on the island, and a future where human rights are respected and upheld.”