Tamilians plan Curry Lunch highlighting culture and cuisine

Venkat Raman
Auckland, March 19, 2023

A unique day of fun and a sumptuous meal is on the cards for Aucklanders and visitors next month, highlighting the heritage of the Tamil-speaking people.

Called, ‘Auckland Curry Virunthu,’ a feast and festival, is being organised jointly by the Tamil Association of New Zealand Inc (TANZI) and Arasan New Zealand Trust, a charity organisation.

The Curry Virunthu will be held from 11 am to 4 pm on April 22, 2023 at Bruce Pulman Park located at 90 Walters Road, Takanini in South Auckland.

Entry per adult is $25, per family (couple plus a child under ten years of age) $60 and $70 for a family with two children.

For more details and registration, please visit www.trybooking.co.nz/MZA

Time-honoured Cuisine

TANZI President Sowndra Rajan said that Auckland Curry Virunthu will highlight a unique culture and cuisine and the time-honoured hospitality of the Tamil-speaking people.

“I believe this is the first Curry Virunthu to be held in Auckland. ‘Curry’ (which had different connotations in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals is a standard item at all homes every day and at least one such is served at our formal lunch and dinner meetings and festivals. Our forthcoming event will hopefully set the trend for our young people to imbibe the values of Tamil cuisine, along with its heritage,’ he said.

According to Mr Sowndra, Curry Virunthu is popular even today in villages across Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka and other Tamil-speaking regions around the world. He said that people gather with families including children at a common place- often in open spaces or under the trees, converting them into suitable festival venues.

“In villages located in Salem and Dharmapuri Districts in Tamil Nadu people gather periodically (annually or biannually) during Chithirai (April-May), Vaikasi (May-June) and Masi (February-March) offer sacrifices to their ancestral Deities including Karuppu Sami, Ayyanar, Muniappan (Muniandi), Ellai Karuppu Sami and Periyachi Kali Amman. People also perform Suduvan Pooja and Orundai Padayal, with relatives and friends invited to a Curry Feast and entertainment. A popular dance called Devam is performed on this occasion,” he said.

In Ettimangalam Village near Melur in Madurai district, people offer their obeisance to Chakveeran Swami, revered as the Guardian Deity of Adi Dravidians.

“A strange curry feast ceremony was held for many years in this Temple, where only men who could eat the curry feast and pray for rain were allowed,” Mr Sowndra said.

Curry Virunthu is also a social event organised on occasions such as Graha Pravesham (house-warming), weddings, birthdays and festivals.

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