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Sadhya, Floral Rangoli mark Onam celebrations in Keral Samajam

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Jamshedpur, August 30: The spirit of Onam once again prevailed in the city as residents both Malayalees and non Malayalees joined in the celebrations at Keral Samajam Model School on Sunday.

Keralites celebrated Onam with traditional fervor in steel city Jamshedpur. More than 1500 people from the community enjoyed traditional food from their home state. The premise of the school was abuzz with activities as men and women dressed in the traditional ‘mundu’ and ‘mundum veshti’ (white outfits) joined the celebrations and enjoyed traditional food.

Those who were unable to rush to their native hamlets and ancestral homes to celebrate Onam used the occasion an opportunity to celebrate the festival. About 23 variety of food known as Onam Sadhya were made to mark the harvest season.

This is one day when the Malyalees eat on banana leaves with preparations like vegetable curries, kaalan, olan and avial. The most important dish is the payasam. This is the day when people wear new dresses and visit their family and relatives.

A P R Nair, chairman, Kerala Samjam said that in Kerala the biggest festival is called Onam. It signifies the home-coming of King Mahabali. Onam is also celebrated as the day of advent of Vamana and Bali.

It marks the beginning of a new life. The festival is all about celebrating on the grand Onasadya (Onam feast), shopping, social reunions and welcoming King Mahabali by spreading good blessings.

“Every year the members of the community unite here to participate in the cultural activities, which are followed by community lunch. We try to celebrate the festival in our own traditional way,” noted Nair.

Onam without the taste of exquisite cuisine and the Sunday afternoon feast was the cynosure for all Malayalis. The Onam feast was mouth-watering fare comprising several delicacies like various curries including Sambaar and Rasam, followed by Aviyal (mix of vegetables), Kuruk Kaalan (based on Curd), Toran (green vegetables along with coconut) accompanied by a variety of pickles and wafers, served on plantain leaves .

A member of the community, said that there is an explanation for this emphasis on food, as Onam celebrates the arrival of a portly demon-king, Mahabali. According to folklore, Mahabali, the Asura king who ruled the state, was so fair and just that even the gods became insecure.

To teach him a lesson, he was pushed into the netherworld by Vamana, the fifth avatar of Vishnu, but was allowed to come and meet his citizens and enjoy the splendour of the state on Onam. Also present on the occasion was Tata Steel Vice-President (Corporate Services) Sunil Bhaskaran with his family and other renowned personalities of the city.

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