Newham’s Pongal festival marks special birthday year for the Queen
- Credit: SATHIAMOORTHY GOPALAKRISHNAN
Newham’s Tamil community are laying claim to being the first people celebrating the Queen’s 90th birthday.
The group made a special cake and poster to mark the occasion – which doesn’t happen until April 21 – at the borough’s 16th Pongal festival on Friday in East Ham High Street last week
East Ham MP Stephen Timms and local children cut a slice of the cake, topped with an image of Her Majesty, while a special prayer was said to grant the Queen good health and a long life.
A street party was held alongside the event’s usual festivities to mark the special anniversary.
Event organiser and founder of Newham’s Pongal lights, Cllr Paul Sathianesa, said: “The Tamil community wanted to be a role model in Newham to share this blessing with the wider community and with our children.”
Pongal is a Tamil harvest festival which marks the beginning of the Tamil New Year. It is celebrated by the Tamil Hindu, Christian and Muslim communities across South-East Asia.