The Celebration Of Ponggal As Thanksgiving Festival

GOPIO Youth Virtual Meet and Greet
January 20, 2021
International Women’s Day Panel Discussion
March 6, 2021

This Joint Statement is issued by GOPIO (Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin), MHDM (Malaysia Hindhudharma Maamandram), SGFM (Sri Guruji Foundation Malaysia) and MAIUG (Malaysian Association of Indian University Graduates).


The meeting held at 4.00 pm on 22nd February 2021 sought to clarify on the misappropriation of Ponggal as Tamil New Year.


  • Recently, certain media, certain organisations and certain politicians are referring to Ponggal as Tamil New Year, which contradicts our traditions, while misleading the public.


  • In recent years, Malaysian Tamil media is openly announcing Thai Ponggal, the first day of the Tamil month of Thai, as the day to celebrate the beginning of Tamil New Year. This is contradicting with Hindu religious practices.


  • Since the arrival of the forefathers of the Tamils in Malaysia, Ponggal has been celebrated on 1st Thai (mid-January) as the harvesting festival and thanksgiving with offerings to the Sun God. Malaysian Tamil Hindus have a long tradition of celebrating religious festivals including Ponggal and Tamil New Year.


  • Even, the government of the state of Tamilnadu has declared, reinstated and gazetted the first day of the Tamil month Chithirai as the beginning of the Tamil New Year instead of Thai Ponggal day.


  • Ponggal is a religious festival for the Hindus and some non-Hindu Communities also celebrate. Ponggal cannot become a non-religious festival for the Hindus because there are non-Hindu communities celebrating the occasion.


  • The New Year for the Tamils is on 1st Chithirai (mid-April) and is referred to as Varusha Pirappu or Tamil New Year.