Onam blossoms

The City celebrated Onam, the harvest festival, with pomp and gaiety on Wednesday.

The festival, which symbolises the Vamana avatar of Lord Vishnu and the subsequent homecoming of legendary Emperor Mahabali was celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm amongst the Malayalees and non-Malayalees.

Malayalees scattered across the globe threw themselves into celebration mode on Wednesday. Veena, a Bangalorean, said: “During the earlier days, people in Kerala would go out and pick a variety of flowers from different places. Today, we bought the flowers from a nearby market.” She said “ relatives and friends from all communities - Hindu, Muslim and Christian - celebrated this festival today as a mark of communal harmony.”

Many Malayalees associations organised several programmes as part of the festival in Bangalore. “Malayalees in Bangalore under Kalavedi, the Kerala Association, have organised a two-day event Saturday and Sunday where the non-Malayalees are invited as well. As many as 2000 to 2500 people are expected to gather at the venue to celebrate the festival. Sports events, Mohiniyattam, kathakali and other cultural activities have been organised,” said Sudheesh of the Association.

“Onam started with the lighting of the lamp on the traditional pookalam this morning. We visited the Aiyappa temple and then offered pooja at home as well. Around 40-50 relatives and friends attended the festival,” said Sudheesh.

“Sadya, the traditional vegetarian meal, was served on a banana leaf. We usually cook around 30-35 dishes on this day. However, today we managed only 28 varieties of dishes. Rasam, pulisseri, kaalan, avial, thoran, olan, pachadi, mango achar, naranga curry, papadum, banana, plain yoghurt or buttermilk and banana chips were some of the dishes we cooked today. Both the steamed white rice as well as red boiled rice were cooked today as some non-Malayalees prefer steamed white rice,” Sudheesh said.

Kalavedi has also organised ‘pookalam’ competitions to mark the festival and to encourage the culture. South Western Railways had introduced additional trains to Kerala to clear extra rush of people who visit their place to celebrate the festival with near and dear ones.

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