A Celebration of Togetherness and Gaiety for Malayalees

The popular festival brings with it plenty of exciting and fun-filled events and competitions for the whole family

Published: Fri 2 Sep 2022, 9:00 AM

For Malayalee expatriates in the Gulf, their harvest festival Onam is a celebration of nostalgia, togetherness and gaiety, lasting more than two months every year. Most often, celebrations start ten days ahead of the main Onam day, which is called Thiru Onam and celebrated with floral decorations, Onam feast (Sadhya), variety cultural shows, competitions and flower carpets.

Malayalees or non-resident Indians from Kerala gather to mark their annual harvest festival through various events that are organised by numerous cultural groups, Indian associations and community groups across the GCC. In the UAE, Onam is celebrated by Malayalam-speaking expatriates under the auspices of various Indian cultural groups across various emirates. These include chapters of World Malayalee Council, Indian associations in Sharjah, Al Ain, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, and Abu Dhabi as well as many event organisers.

In Dubai, Al Nasr Leisureland has been one of the most sought-after venues for Onam celebrations. This year, AKCAF Events and Equity Plus Advertising are organising two mega celebrations at this popular venue in collaboration with HIT 96.7 FM.

AKCAF Events, which has been organising crowd-pulling Onam festivals continuously since 1998, except in 2020 and 2021, has scheduled its celebration entitled Sravana Paurnami on October 2 at Al Nasr Leisureland with a spectacular cultural show featuring popular stage and performing artists, along with an Onam Sadhya for an expected gathering of more than one thousand people. The event will have the presence of several dignitaries, including Shashi Tharoor, former Indian Minister and Member of Parliament, and Yusuffali MA, Chairman of Lulu Group, and senior business leaders and diplomats.

Equity Plus is hosting Onamamangam, billed as the largest Onam event of the year in the UAE, on September 10 and 11. The two-day event features famous Indian music director Gopi Sundar’s Mega Musical Night and special cultural contests. Competitions will be held in Safari Mall, Sharjah, on September 10, the opening day of Onamamangam. Participants have a chance to win exciting cash awards as well as other prizes by taking part in various Onam events, including Thiruvathirakali, Oppana, kids painting competition, Pookalam (flower carpet) contest, Vadamvali (tug of war), Payasam competition, cinematic dance, Malayali Manka, and Mr. Malayali. On the second day of Onamamangam, Onam Sadhya will be served for 3,000 people. The Sadhya traditionally consists of 26 vegetarian dishes and includes Payasam, which is served on a banana leaf.

— issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com

More news from