Dartford Tamil Knowledge Centre held their first Sarasvathi poosai (prayer service) on 8th October 2011 at the Holy Trinity Primary School, Dartford.
The event, dedicated to Sarasvathi, the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music and art, included dancing, music and speeches from students of all ages.
After initial prayers, with prayers, infants and young children were taught to write the Tamil alphabet in rice, a ritual called Edu Thoddakal, followed by many in Tamil Eelam. It is believed to bless the beginning of a child’s education.
Following the religious observations, the evening’s performances commenced with a commemorative silence in honour of all the Eelam Tamils who have lost their lives during the years of oppression and struggle.
The audience were welcomed by Bharathy Maheswaran, a member of the TYO (Tamil Youth Organisation) before the evening’s first performance, the Puspanjali dance, was performed by a talented youngster.
Puspanjali is typically the first dance performed at a Bharatha Natya recital, where the dancer calls upon the Hindu god Pillayar to protect the dancer from all evils.
Dancers also performed the Kavadi dance and the audience were further treated to a drama production of Murugan’s Thiruvilayadal, the mango story, by young children.
During the evening, the audience were addressed by a number of speakers, including a young student, who explained the religious significance of Navarathiri, and the head teacher of Dartford Tamil Knowledge Centre, and the two guests of honour – the head teacher of Holy Trinity Primary School, Mrs Gillian Haynes, and a local police officer, attached to the Kent police force.
In an inspiring speech, DTKC head teacher, urged the Tamil community in Dartford to continue their commitment to the growth of the Tamil language, history and culture amongst their children.
Mrs Haynes during her speech, expressed amazement at the notable turnout and praised the children on the lively, colourful performances.
Her views were echoed by the second guest of honour, a member of the local police force, who also highlighted the diversity of the community she served in Kent. Offering her gratitude to the Tamil community for their contribution to the wider community in Kent, she offered to be of assistance at community events any time in the future.