BHUBANESWAR: Malayalis residing in the Capital celebrated Onam, Kerala’s harvest festival, on Sunday with gaiety and traditional fervor.
Men and women in traditional attire performed their traditional dance ‘Thiruvathirakali’ at a function organised by Kerala Kala Samiti here. The other major attractions of the day were intricately decorated ‘Pookalam’ (floral Rangoli) to welcome the guests and ‘Onasadhya’, the traditional Onam feast served on banana leaf.
Chief guest of the function, Minister of State for Tourism and Culture Ashok Panda said Keralites residing in Odisha have assimilated Odia culture and contributed significantly to the economic development of the State.
“We believe in ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbkum’ and culture transcends all barriers,” Panda said drawing a parallel between both the States which have long coastline and agriculture as their prime activity.
The Minister announced to promote cultural exchange by extending the Odisha tourism festival, slated for Hyderabad, Mumbai and Bangalore this year to Thiruvananthapuram next year.
President of Kerala Kala Samiti Benjamine Simon said about 300 Malayali families are residing in the Capital and have contributed to Odisha’s IT, health and hospitality sectors. Besides, the South Indian food in the city is largely influenced by Kerala, he said.
The Samiti had to organise Onam on Sunday, nearly a month after the festival was celebrated on September 7, due to difficulties in availing a venue.
The Minister felicitated the participants. Italian-born Odissi dancer Ileana Citaristi also participated in the celebration.