Manor Park lights up in celebration of diversity

Diverse communities came together in Manor Park to light up the streets in celebration of International Tamil Day.

East Ham MP Stephen Timms peformed the honours at High Street North as families gathered for a street party in aid of Pongal, a festival to mark the beginning of the New Year in Tamil homelands.

Councillor Paul Sathianesan, who attended the event, said: “We Tamils around the world as Hindus, Christians, and Muslims united together beyond our differences in religion, cast and politics to celebrate Pongal as ‘International Tamil Day.’

“This year, lights will be for ‘Peace Around the World’. Newham is the promised land for many diverse communities from around the world, which recognise and celebrate the differencet culture, food, music and festivals.”

Speeches were made by Hindu, Muslim, and Christian representatives alongside business people and young people from the local community.

A variety of Pongal food was served while onlookers watched traditional performances and displays in traditional dress.

Cllr Sathianesan added: “This year’s event is a special one for every one, as we as British citizens and residents of the Commonwealth celebrate Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee and welcome the 2012 Olympics as part of a big family.

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“I am proud to see many communities coming together to celebrate this in style.”

The four-day festival is traditionally celebrate in the Tamil Nadu region of India, Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius, South Africa and Sri Lanka.

To see more pictures from the street party, log on to and view our picture gallery.