Spirit of Onam pervades

Spirit of Onam pervades

UAE was heady with the spirit of Onam, the biggest festival of the Indian state of Kerala, on Wednesday. Malayalee expatriates got together to celebrate the harvest festival with gusto. Many said the celebrations would never be like back home, but they believe in living it up wherever they are.


Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Thu 30 Aug 2012, 9:10 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 11:26 AM

Advertisements for the Onasadya (special Onam lunch), traditional clothing, and flowers began sprouting up at retail outlets across the city several days before the festival. Biju Nambiar (32), a resident of Dubai and mechanical engineer said: “My wife began shopping for the festival last week. One of the main reasons that we get together with other Malayalees, both family and friends, is so that the younger generation understands the value of tradition.” Nambiar’s wife Sarita said: “We as kids experienced a very different kind of Onam when we were in Kerala, India. Children who grow up outside India grow up not knowing many of our traditional values.”

Though events and activities on a large scale will be celebrated during the weekend most families got together on Wednesday.

Nandita Sajeev, a housewife said: “We usually start the day very early in the morning by spreading a pookkalam (floral arrangement) outside the house. After this, cooking for the sadhya begins.” Sajeev added that men and women take a lot of effort to cook a good Onam meal, which consists of 26 to 30 vegetarian dishes. The meal is then eaten on a plantain leaf.

“I miss the Onam celebrations back home because it is much more colourful and there is also a touch of rain. Here we celebrate in our apartments. But this Onam, I had a good time with a few friends,” said Najeeb, a construction worker. Few private organisations also celebrated Onam. The ladies at the Al Reyami Advertising in Dubai had a massive Onam Pookkalam at their reception.

Those who missed the celebrations on Wednesday can head to the Onam festivities to be organised by the various associations in the coming days. Festivities organised by the Country Club will be held at the National Theatre in Abu Dhabi on September 6 and the Dubai World Trade Centre, on September 8.

Rajeev Reddy, Chairman and Managing Director Country Club Group said: “With the Onam celebrations, while we are definitely targetting the large Malayalee community, we are also widening the appeal of the festival to other Indian communities, by adding a modern twist.”

South Indian actresses Reema Kallingal and Meera Nandan are set to perform in Abu Dhabi and Dubai along with Vijay Prakash, singer of Academy Award winning ‘Jai Ho’ song fame. The highlight of Country Club Onam will be the ritual Onam dance, thiruvathirakali, performed by women.


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