Arizona Malayalees celebrate Christmas and welcome the New Year 2020
by Shakuntala Nair
Phoenix, AZ: Winter is the most beautiful time of the year in Phoenix, Arizona. The holiday mood combined with the pleasant weather provided the ideal background for the Arizona Malayalees Association's Christmas and New Year celebrations on December 29th, 2019.
The event was held at the Indo-American Cultural Center in Phoenix, AZ. Christmas in Kerala is special, like many other festivals in the state. It is celebrated not only by Christians but by people of all religious beliefs in a truly secular way. It is a time for family reunions, eating delicious home-cooked food, enjoying the sparkling decorations on homes and buildings, and generally preparing to welcome a new year. In this true Kerala spirit, Malayali families from the Phoenix metro area gathered together to celebrate Christmas and welcome the New Year 2020 and the new decade.
The Chief Guest for the evening was U.S. Representative for Arizona's 9th Congressional District, Mr. Greg Stanton, who has also served as the Mayor of Phoenix. A strong supporter of the Indian community in Phoenix, Mr. Stanton's presence and words were a source of great inspiration and added charm to the occasion.
The audience was entertained by a vibrant cultural program, consisting of traditional Indian dances, colorful film-based dances by adults and kids, instrumental and vocal music. Befitting to the occasion, 'Margam Kali', a beautiful, energy-packed dance form of the Christian communities in Kerala, was also presented. The Nativity scene was recreated with great devotion by community members, which added spiritual grace to the occasion. Finally the arrival of Santa Claus with his bag of goodies provided a joyous finale to the cultural program, much to the delight of the audience, especially the little kids. The cultural program was followed by a grand Christmas dinner, complete with delicious Christmas cake.
The Arizona Malayalees Association Board team was led by President Joseph Vadakkel, and overall event coordination was by Binukumar Thankachan. Cultural Coordinators Rashmi Menon and Sajith Thaivalappil provided leadership to the cultural program. The grand feast was prepared by community members under the leadership of Srikumar Nambiar and Baiju Thomas.
Written by Shakuntala Nair – Board Member, Arizona Malayali Association