ONAM 2017 - 16th September 2017
For Malayalees all over the world, the coming of the fall month of Chingam (August - September) brings with it sweet childhood memories—of time spent with family, of the Ona Sadya (a variety of vegetarian dishes traditionally served on a banana leaf) and, for many, of collecting flower petals with which to make colourful Pookalams (an intricate and colourful arrangement of flowers laid on the floor). All these are part of the month’s 10-day Onam celebrations, an important part of Kerala’s culture. The festival teaches lessons of brotherhood, happiness, contentment, devotion, sharing, sacrifice and surrender to the Higher Self.
In order to create awareness of Kerala's culture and tradition, Onam is celebrated every year by the Canadian Malayalee Association from its inception in 2001. The celebrations begin with Pookalam competition and is followed by the Ona Sadya. This is followed by a grand parade, lead by King Mahabali (Onam celebrates the annual visit of King Mahabali to Kerala), accompanied by the Chenda Melam, followed by men and women dressed in traditional Kerala attire.
In the evening, is the cultural programme, celebrating Kerala culture, which includes gracious traditional dances, Malayalam songs and a beautiful of boat race. The programme is enjoyed by everyone and is held amidst great cheer and applause. Every passing year has witnessed increasing mass participation, and many non-Malayalee friends also make it a point to enjoy this annual cultural extravaganza.