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Thai Pongal comes to Yellowknife, raising funds for seniors

Janaki Balakrishnan (centre) and organizers of Thai Pongal in Yellowknife
Janaki Balakrishnan (centre) and organizers of Thai Pongal in Yellowknife. Megan Miskiman/Cabin Radio

A Thai Pongal celebration was held in Yellowknife on Saturday as a fundraiser for the Yellowknife Seniors’ Society, with an auction, door prizes and a traditional meal.

Janakai Balakrishnan, an organizer of Saturday’s event, said the Hindu festival is observed by Tamils to celebrate the harvesting of rice and grains. “In celebrations like this, we cook vegetables with these grains and rice and we enjoy the meal,” she said.

“That’s what tonight was for, and it seems like everyone did enjoy their meals and had a good time celebrating with one another.”

The event included an auction for a sweet rice, milk toffee, and sweet potato pie made with a secret recipe. The auction raised more than $200. After this article was first published, the group said a total of more than $1,200 had been raised through auction proceeds and ticket sales.



This was the first time such an event had been hosted at Yellowknife’s Baker Centre, which is managed by the seniors’ society, though a spokesperson for the society said this would be “the first of many to come.”

Balakrishnan says she was inspired by a Diwali festival held in Yellowknife in October, which also raised funds for the same society.

“I just thought, why don’t I put my effort there as well?” she said.

“We got a lot of positive comments and it really was a great success.”