Friday, September 10, 2010
Liverpool Malayalee Community Association (LIMCA)– festival of Onam, Broadgreen International School
A festival related to the rice harvest, celebrated in Kerala, the most southern state in India. Luciana Berger, MP for Liverpool Wavertree, Councillor Claire Wilner, Assistant Cabinet Member for Culture and Tourism, and I were delighted to attend the celebrations for the festival of Onam last weekend.
The event began with Onasadya, a vegetarian meal, not eaten from a plate, but off a large banana leaf, rice and various curried vegetables, sweet dried banana chips and banana and rice pudding. Very yummy! Then we joined the parade as it crossed the school yard, everyone was beautifully dressed in traditional costume with face make-up and a smear of sandalwood on their foreheads.
We went into the gymnasium to see the Pookalam display – intricate flower carpets laid on the floor. There was then a formal event in the assembly hall, with speeches, singing and dancing. Luciana helped light the lamp in a special ceremony that was not unlike the lighting of the advent candle. Claire gave awards for the Pookalam competition and I gave awards for the tug of war competition. There was also a special set of awards for the many Kerala women who are nurses in Liverpool and who had recently been on a training course organised by LIMCA.
It was a delight and a pleasure to have been invited and I hope our links will strengthen in coming years.