KOCHI: Festivals are usually occasions of pomp and gaiety but they also give us a chance to reflect on virtues of compassion and benevolence. As Onam fervour reaches a crescendo, here’s a roundup of how educational institutions in the city ushered in the festivities with acts of generosity and togetherness.
Around 35 patients of the palliative care unit of Ernakulam General Hospital and mentally challenged students of Buds School, Mulavukad, joined the Onam celebrations at St Albert’s College recently. “I am grateful to everyone who organised this celebration. At a time when senior parents are being abandoned by their children, this is a warm gesture,” said Ramachandran, a patient. The college management organised the event to foster a sense of compassion among its students. A dance performance by the students of Buds left the audience in awe. 33 per cent of the funds collected was earmarked for supporting relief activities in the aftermath of floods.
The students of the Commerce Department of St Paul’s College, Kalamassery, celebrated Onam in a noble way. The fund allotted for procuring flowers for pookalam was instead used to buy vegetables to make the mandala and later donated to an orphanage run by social activist Theruvoram Murugan. “There are around 27 to 30 inmates in the orphanage who were rescued from the streets.
The orphange sustains itself through contributions. I asked the students to think about doing something different and they came up with the idea of making a design using vegetables,” said Jibin Jacob, assistant professor, who mentored the initiative. “We used 150 kg of vegetables to make the carpet. The vegetables were selected keeping in mind the needs of the inmates,” added Jibin. The carpet comprised of an array of veggies including brinjals, beetroots, tomatoes, onions, drumstick, French beans, pumpkin, elephant foot yam, cucumber, colocasia, banana flower, carrots, lady’s finger, ivy gourd, snake gourd, cowpea, potatoes and shallots.
Onam celebrations held at Toc H Public School saw students presenting dance and music performances which highlighted various traditions associated with the festival and artforms unique to Kerala. The celebration commenced with toddlers of kindergarten welcoming everyone by reciting the popular song ‘‘Vannalo vannalo onam vannalo’. Boys and girls attended the function dressed in traditional outfits.
Major highlights of Onam celebrations at Greet’s Public School was the mega ‘Thiruvathirakali’ performed by the girl students and the ‘vanchi pattu’ presented by the boys. The programme began with shingari melam and pulikali. The mega Thiruvathirakali and the vanchi pattu were organised to send a message of unity.