Viral video shows staff of UK’s PM office celebrating Pongal, eating traditional meal with their hands

Pongal  has been celebrated with great vigour and enthusiasm by the Tamil population across the world. Now, a video purportedly showing the staff of Prime Minister’s office in the UK enjoying the delectable sweet dish pongal as they celebrate the harvest festival has gone viral on social media.

The widely shared clip shows men clad in defence uniform and other officials sitting in a row and enjoying pongal, a sweetmeat made of rice, jaggery and milk. Served on banana leaves, along with idli, chutney and bananas, they are seen savouring the different flavours. A man clad in mundu and shirt is seen asking them if they want anything more and one of the officials is heard saying it is “very good”. While some of them are seen using spoons to have the meals, others ate with their hands.

“Viral Video of UK defense & PM’s office staff celebrating Pongal/Makar Sankranti festival. A welcome change,” read the caption of the clip. The video shared by Twitter user Megh Updates has amassed more than 68,000 views on Twitter.

Netizens were impressed by the video, which celebrates diversity. A user commented, “This is awesome!” Another user wrote, “Great to see and feeling really proud!!” A third user commented, “It’s fun seeing them struggling to eat with their hands Most using left hand only.”

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also extended Pongal wishes to the Tamil community in the country. In a video shared on YouTube, he is heard saying, “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.”

The four-day festival is being celebrated from January 14-17. According to the Tamil solar calendar, Pongal is celebrated in Thai month. The ritual of boiling freshly harvested rice with milk and jaggery in a clay till it overflows is observed and the word ‘pongal’ means ‘spilling over’ denoting the key ritual.

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