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Embrace Tamil culture at upcoming pavilion

Pavilion set to mark 15th year

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Not every Folklorama pavilion represents a country.

The Tamil pavilion is based on the Tamil language, a Dravidian language spoken by more than 70 million people worldwide, but predominantly in South India and Sri Lanka. Tamil is one of the world’s oldest living languages, dating back thousands of years.

Sponsored by the Tamil Cultural Society of Manitoba, the Tamil pavilion is celebrating its 15th year.

"We’ve been praised for years regarding our cultural display, where you can learn so much about our history and our culture," says Poorany William, co-ordinator of the Tamil pavilion.

"There will also be one corner where you can actually learn how to write your name in Tamil using our own alphabet."

The pavilion features a variety of folk dances as well as Bharatanatyam, a classical Indian dance form.

"We are extremely proud to be showcasing the community’s own children," says  William, who choreographs the dance. "We don’t bring in outside dancers. We have our own choreographers and the kids, from age six to adults, perform."

For food, the pavilion offers rice, a variety of curries, mutton and veggie rolls, samosas, vadai (a savoury fritter-like snack) and dosai (a crepe filled with potato curry). For drinks, there’s mango juice, beer and a tropical cocktail and for dessert, it’s vattalappam, an egg custard made with brown sugar and coconut milk.

After you’ve had your fill, why not learn how to wear a sari?

"Every year for the past 15 years we’ve been demonstrating to a volunteer onstage how to wear a sari and that lucky volunteer goes home with a free sari," William says.

"Last year, one of the ladies told me they wanted to go up but were a little shy to go onstage in front of so many people, so I’m arranging a booth where people who don’t want to go onstage can try some of the saris and take pictures with them."

The Tamil pavilion runs Aug. 11 to 17 at Burton Cummings Community Centre (960 Arlington St.). Hours are 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

For more information, go to folklorama.ca.

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