The Canterbury Tamil Society last week took the opportunity of Thai Pongal, the harvest festival of the Tamil community- also known as Makar Sankranti to welcome the families living in South Island in its new calendar year.

The event not just hosted a cultural celebration on this occasion but also felicitated the students of CTS Academy of Tamil Language and Arts.

More than 40 children learn Tamil language, one of the most spoken languages in the world following the syllabus and module provided by an Australian Tamil school studied in New Zealand.

The annual prize-giving ceremony and the cultural event was hosted at Temple Community Centre on Saturday, January 12.

The teachers and community leaders gave prizes to young children who scored the best in Tamil language tests-  and encouraged them to keep the language alive and to thrive away from home.

A specially themed decoration was arranged by CTS for the attendees of the Tamil community to get the feel and ambience of the harvest festival back in India.

Children as young as six years old danced on the stage and entertained the attendees at the event.

“It is important that our children witness such events and not just learn but also bring these learnings into practice and keep the culture and language of the Tamilians alive for the future generations,” Secretary of Canterbury Tamil Society Suren Sivalingam told The Indian Weekender.