Onam brings harmony and festive spirit

Venkat Raman

Friendly people showering respect and hospitality, entertainers in colour costumes and men and women serving at least 18 different food items will witness the return of ‘Onam,’ the most colourful festival of the people of South Indian State of Kerala.

Organised by the Auckland Malayali Samajam, the Onam Festival will be held on Sunday, September 8, 2019 from 4 pm at Mahatma Gandhi Centre, 145 New North Road, Eden Terrace.

As well as the traditional songs and dances, a skit and traditional welcome to ‘Mahabali,’ this year’s programme will also ‘Onam Sadhya,’ an exquisite meal that will highlight not only the cuisine but also culture of Kerala.

The actual day of celebration of Onam in Kerala is Sunday, September 1, 2019. However, celebrations in other parts of the world would vary, depending on the convenience of local communities.

Auckland Malayali Samajam President Yeldos Varghese, Secretary Sunny Kuzhikombil and Treasure Joby Kunnath, who are members of the Organising Committee of the First Indian Newslink Festivals of South India (to be held on September 21, 2019) have been briefing us of the extensive preparations that began a few months ago and the excitement and expectations of the community and its guests.

Oneness at heart

Their community spirit and sense of belonging come to the fore at Onam festivities every year. There are no Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Nairs, Menons, Namboodiris or any other faiths in such gatherings. There are just Malayalis coming together to mark the change of season to one of harvesting the goodness sown months earlier. The reason for the gathering could have a historic perspective involving a Demon King (please read the adjacent story) but the purpose these days is to foster harmony and peace that is so conspicuous by their absence in the modern world.

Multicultural Society

“Kerala has a multicultural society of Hindus, Muslims and Christians living in harmony from times immemorial. Keralites have a very broadminded culture, which permits mutual respect for social and cultural aspects. The same attitudes and values are brought to New Zealand. This is particularly relevant and valuable for the youth born and bought up here or who came here at a very young age,” Mr Varghese said.

‘Malayalis,’ as they are known, are among the most hardworking, resilient and family-oriented people from India and over the years, their presence in almost every country around the world as professionals, entrepreneurs, scientists, medical practitioners, engineers, accountants, administrators, the support staff has been acknowledged and applauded. They are among the most prominent expatriates in the Arab Gulf which was home for this writer for a length of time.

Auckland Malayali Samajam

Established in 1997 as a not-for-profit organisation, Auckland Malayali Samajam aims to preserve and promote the unique culture of Kerala.

The Samajam accounts for more than 1000 members and that a number of cultural, educational and sporting events have been planned for the year.

The Samajam aims to educate the younger members of our community on the rich culture and language of Kerala and help them to grow as responsible citizens.

“We are committed to the well-being of all New Zealanders, towards the achievement of which we conduct blood donation camps every year, organise donations for community welfare organisations such as Salvation Army and the Auckland City Mission, Westpac Rescue Helicopter, St John’s Ambulance,” Mr Varghese said.

Festivals of South India

Indian Newslink is proud to present the first-ever ‘Festivals of South India,’ organised by five Associations representing the five States of South India on Saturday, September 21, 2019 at Sacred Heart College Auditorium located at 250 West Tamaki Road, Glendowie, Auckland.

The organisations are the oldest serving their communities- they are the New Zealand Kannada Koota, which marked its 25th Anniversary in April, New Zealand Telugu Association (21 years), Auckland Malayali Samajam (20 years), Muthamil Sangam (19 years) and the New Zealand Telangana Association (Four years), which was formed about a year after the State was formed.

The Programme, showcasing the Culture, Cuisine and Costumes of the five States, namely Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana, will begin at 630 pm and will include dinner incorporating the cuisine of these States.

Ticket Information

Tickets for the Programme, priced at $34.50 including GST and Tables seating ten persons each at $345 including GST are now available. This Programme is not for children below 12 years of age. There will be no sale of tickets at the venue. For tickets and more information, please contact members of the Organising Committee listed in the advertisement appearing below this article. Updates are constantly posted on our websites and on Facebook.

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Photo Caption:

Women presenting ‘Kaikotti Kali’ at Onam Festival 2014 of Auckland Malayali Samajam (File Picture).

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