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Onam celebration by KHA showcases culture & traditions of India

by Webdesk


Phoenix, AZ: It was all color, music and celebration for Arizona Malayalee population here on Saturday, September 14th when over a 1,000 people came together to participate in and cherish their rich cultural heritage and celebrate the annual Onam festival. The event is organized by KHA, an Arizona based non-profit charity.


Onam, the annual harvest festival in the state of Kerala in southern part of India, is a celebration of not just the harvest but of goodness and equality and a banished mythological king who visits his subjects each year. It is an important event on the Malayalee calendar.


A daylong cultural extravaganza, with a break for the traditional lunch feast ‘Onamsadhya’ kicked off with the lighting of the traditional nilavilakku (a brass lamp) by Chief Guest, KHNA President Satheesh Ambadi along with association President Dileep Pillai, Vice President Ajitha Suresh Kumar,  Anita Praseed (Cultural Affairs), Deepti  Binith (Youth representative) and Arathi Santhosh (BOD).


“The onam festival had been organized by KHA for years. The celebration provides the expatriates a perfect opportunity to encourage the new generation of Indian origin to witness, learn and appreciate these rich traditions, even while it offers the first generation to stay connected and cherish the rich cultural heritage they hold so dear to them”, Dileep Pillai said.


The events of the day began with the making of a beautiful “Pookalam” (floral carpet designing) by Girija Menon & Team.  The colorful Pookoalm along with the Nirapara (brass container filled with husked rice and coconut tree flowers placed inside) and NIlavilakku (traditional brass lamp) at the entrance of Auditorium gave a warm traditional welcome to the participants.


The highlights of the day were Mega Thiruvathira performed by fifty plus women participants followed by Mega Margam Kali, Mega Bharatnatyam, Mega Bollywood Dance, Odissi dance by Pulari Kartha and Mohiniyattam by Uma Mooss.   The cultural programs were coordinated by association members Anita Praseed, Deepti Binith and Arathi Santhosh.  




The arrival of the mythical benevolent King Mahabali to the event traditionally with Chendamelam, Muthukuda and Vanchipattu was well received by the audience.  A man dressed up as the king, wearing a bejeweled crown, held court over a colorful procession.


Other attractions of the programme were several songs, classical and cinematic dances, fashion show, instrumental music, skits and other entertainment took place indoor and outdoor at the ASU Preparatory Academy Auditorium in Phoenix, Arizona.


"We have a traditional feast served on banana leaves, included over 20 aromatic curries and desserts. This year’s onam celebration we served food for nearly 1000 people," Mr  Sreekumar Kaithavana, Treasurer  of the organization said.

Many people from outside the Malayalee community also took part, with friends, workmates, neighbors and others all invited to take part. The celebration concluded at 5pm with National Anthem sung by association members.



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