INVERGORDON, SCOTLAND – JANUARY 13: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak leaves after his visit to Port of Cromarty Firth on January 13, 2023 in Invergordon, Scotland. The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, announces two new Treasury-funded “green” freeports near Inverness and Edinburgh during his visit to Scotland in a bid to show the benefits the UK brings to Scotland hoping to quell support for Scottish independence. (Photo by Russell Cheyne – Pool / Getty Images)
A video went viral on Tuesday (17) apparently showing staff members of the UK prime minister’s office celebrating the traditional south Indian festival of Pongal.
However, fact-checkers later debunked the video and clarified that the clip was not from Rishi Sunak’s office but from Waterloo in Canada where the Tamil Cultural Association organised the feast.
Pongal, a four-day harvest celebration that concludes the winter solstice, is primarily observed in southern India, particularly in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana.
The celebration is marked by vibrant decorations, conventional music and dance, and a wide variety of conventional foods.
In the viral video, men and women are seen in defence uniform and formal clothing and are using their hands to eat traditional meals on banana leaves.
Waterloo politicians, regional chair city mayors, councilors and police officers were part of the Pongal feas, it was revealed. Men were also seen in the clip serving various food items dressed in veshtis (a traditional attire).
Even Indian parliamentarian Sonal Mansingh MP shared the video clip on her Twitter handle saying it was from Sunak’s office.
According to reports, the original video was uploaded by the Tamil Cultural Association on Facebook that got just over 500 views. However, the video went viral when it was shared with the claim that the event was organised by Sunak, the first British Indian prime minister in UK.
Many people commented positively to the video, especially Indians who were happy to witness the initiative shown by foreigners.
Meanwhile, Sunak indeed shared a video message extending Pongal wishes for the Tamil community in the UK.
“I want to send my best wishes to everyone celebrating Thai Pongal this weekend. I know how much this festival means to you for families across the country. And as you come together with your loved ones I want to say an enormous thank you to British Tamils, for your hardwork and sacrifices you make for the good of your families and community,” he said earlier.
India celebrates the same festival under various names. North Indians celebrate Lohri, Makar Sankranti is celebrated in Western India, and Gujaratis celebrate Uttarayan. However, the celebration itself is the same.
According to reports, Pongal has now become a popular festival in Europe as the number of Tamilians in many countries are growing.