I wish all my Tamil constituents a very Happy New Year as they celebrate Puthandu. I know that this is special time of the year for Tamils in the UK and around the world.
It is sad that large traditional family gatherings cannot take place because of the Covid-19 lockdown, but I hope that British Tamils will still be able to celebrate Puthandu with members of their household, including the traditional foods and ceremonies that have been part of this New Year festival for many centuries.
I am sure there will be lots of contact with extended families via remote and electronic means as a way to bring people together for Puthandu, even though they are not able to be physically present in the same location.
Just as many of us experienced Easter on Sunday in a way we never have before, so the British Tamil community will be approaching Puthandu in very differently this year. But common to both Easter and Puthandu is a message of hope and optimism for a fresh start. Those are the kind of sentiments we need to get us through the coronavirus emergency. So I hope people of all faiths and none can take comfort from the prayers said for Puthandu and Easter, as the spring arrives and we look ahead to a time at some point in the next few weeks when hopefully life can start to return to normality. It will take time but we will get there.
So I send my constituents celebrating over the next few days my best wishes for Puthandu Vazhukal!