It was a great day for the Indians residing in the New Plymouth city of New Zealand as they celebrated Onam at St Joseph’s church hall which was organised by the NPMA – New Plymouth Malayali Association. The colourful celebrations depicting the tradition and rich culture of Kerala was well attended by kiwi friends and Indian expats from the different communities of India wearing traditional attires of Kerala. For a moment people gathered felt that they were in Kerala popularly known as GOD’S OWN COUNTRY. The men had laid the amazing Pookalam, the elaborate flower decoration on the ground with diyas lit around which was a visual treat for everybody gathered.

The celebrations started with the welcome and introductory speech from Binu Veliyath, the president of NPMA which continued with the welcoming of the man dressed up as the Mythical King Maveli (King Mahabali) who along with the NPMC office bearers later lit the traditional big brass lamp to mark the commencement of the celebrations. A beautiful video clip explaining the significance of Onam was presented during this occasion which was followed by entertainment and other fun activities.

The entertainment which was multi-layered and brought about the best talent included the kids dance, traditional song, solo dance by Bharani, keyboard by talented artist, song by Raju Khadilkar from the New Plymouth Indian Community and was highly appreciated by the people. The Young Turks of the New Plymouth Star Cricketers entertained the crowd with their mind-blowing dance and Miss Global Beauty NZ – Valentine Fernandes who is representing New Zealand in Korea for the 2016 Miss Global Beauty Queen added glamor to the celebrations and stunned the crowd with her sizzling dance.

Alex Antony who compered the programme gave a brief report on NPMA and conducted the traditional games, musical chair and Tug of war among other events on this occasion. The people gathered who were looking forward to this Onam celebration were extremely happy to be inspired by the day’s events. For many, Onam songs and games brought in some nostalgic ‎memories about the celebrations back home in the yesteryears.

The days programme ended with distribution of prizes for games conducted and Secretary of NPMA Jinto Jose delivered the vote of thanks. Festive food Onamsadya with 21 dishes prepared by Kathakali South Indian Restaurant and traditional sweet “Paal Paayasam” made of rice was served to all on ‎banana leaves spread on the table.

Narayanan Kutty on behalf of the New Plymouth Indian Community thanked NPMC for organising Onam celebrations.

Onam being a festival which is not limited to a specific community or caste really was a festival that united people of all faiths.

Report: Wilfred