Celebrating Kingston’s Tamil Heritage

Kingston is set to unveil a plaque to its twin city, Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka, marking the pair’s close cultural links and celebrating the borough’s Tamil community.

The plaque will be unveiled on Saturday, 22 January, near the borough’s border with Merton, before an event takes place in New Malden, including dancing and a Tamil heritage exhibit. 

The event will begin with a parade through the high street at 11am, and then cultural performances and celebrations until 3pm in St George’s Square and the Methodist Church. It will also feature speeches from local figures, including both of Kingston’s MPs and the Mayor of Kingston.

This celebration and twinning with Jaffna recognises the large Tamil community in Kingston, and the important role they play in the borough.

Kingston is home to around 12,000 Tamils - and Tamil is one of the most spoken languages in the borough. 

Councillor Thay Thayalan, Kingston Council’s Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Champion, said:

We are proud of our borough’s rich diversity and culture. The Tamil heritage event is a chance to celebrate one of our largest communities, and residents who come along can look forward to a warm welcome and a joyous afternoon. 

It is also an honour for Kingston to be twinned with Jaffna, in northern Sri Lanka, and it is a strong statement of our pride in the contributions of our Tamil community.

The event takes place in January as part of Tamil heritage month, which was declared by the London Assembly in  2021. Celebrating the Tamil language and culture in January is an extension of the Tamil New Year ‘Thai Pongal’, which is celebrated worldwide by Tamils.

Published: 14th January 2022