Royal visit for Onam festival
12:24pm Monday 16th September 2013 in News
A CELEBRATION of Indian culture saw families from all over west Wales come to Haverfordwest on Saturday (September 14) to mark the annual festival of Onam.
Organised by the West Wales Malayali Association (WWMA), the day included singing, dancing, games and a feast to mark the annual harvest festival.
The ten-day festival is celebrated worldwide by Malayalees – people who come from the Kerala state of south west India.
Although it has its roots in Hinduism, it is a secular festival celebrated by people of all faiths and castes.
The event marks the homecoming of King Mahabali who, according to legend, sacrificed himself to please Vishnu, and is allowed back to Earth just once a year.
It is a chance for Malayali families to celebrate peace and harmony, and meet up with fellow Kerala ex-patriots.
“It’s a way of keeping in touch with our roots,” said Jacob Stephen, of Haverfordwest.
After a morning of sports and games, a feast - or sadya - comprising around 20 vegetarian dishes was enjoyed by more than 100 guests.
Women dressed in traditional gold and white saris then welcomed King Mahabali and his attendants to the stage, where dancers and drummers marked his arrival with a rousing performance.
First-time Onam guests Helen and Dewi Thomas, from Llanelli, said they thoroughly enjoyed the day.
“It’s nice to see children keeping up traditions, and everyone joining in,” said Dewi.
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