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Floral Decorations, Sadya, Processions and Cultural Programs Mark Onam Celebrations in America

Floral Decorations, Sadya, Processions and Cultural Programs Mark Onam Celebrations in America

Intricate floral decorations called Pookkalam adorned the homes of Indian Americans from Kerala, and the aroma of traditional delicacies wafted from the kitchen, as they celebrated the harvest festival of Onam over the weekend. 

The festival commemorates the appearance of Vamana avatar of Vishnu and the subsequent homecoming of the legendary Emperor Mahabali. Many got together with family and friends to partake in the Onam Sadya, a feast that can sometimes have up to 26 different vegetarian dishes. 


Onam celebrations at the Washington home in Charlotte, N.C., Aug. 21. From left, Mathew Mavely, Anne Mavely, Milli Mavely Washington, and Tyris Washington. Top photo: Onam celebrations hosted by the Malayalee Association of Central Florida (MACF).

Social media was flooded with photos of traditional meals served on a banana leaf as well as women wearing Kerala’s traditional Mundu and Kasavu saris. 

Several organizations like the Kerala Association of Greater Washington (KAGW), Kerala Association of New Jersey (KANJ) Kerala Association of Connecticut, Malayalee Association of Greater Philadelphia and the Malayalee Association of Central Florida (MACF) celebrated the festival with cultural programs and a feast. 

Some shared their photos on Twitter. 

Gita Gopinath, chief economist at the International Monetary Fund tweeted a photo of the Onam Sadya at her home. 

Shashi Tharoor, a member of Parliament from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, also took to Twitter to share a few photos of his Onam celebrations. “And then offered a ‘Niramala’ at the Elevanchery Bhagavathy Kshetram a few minutes from my ancestral home (where I also smashed a ritual coconut & prayed to the Naga gods worshipped by all Nairs). #Onam blessings to all, especially those suffering in these troubled times.”

Above photo: Malayalee Association of Greater Philadelphia hosts a day-long event on Aug. 14. Top three photos: Onam celebrations hosted by the Malayalee Association of Central Florida (MACF).

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