Kerala Association of New England (KANE) celebrated its 45th Onam on August 29th at the Billerica Memorial High School in Massachusetts. Onam is one of the most crowd gathering annual event and special occasion for KANE, and this year was not different. More than 1000 men and women dressed up in traditional Kerala style made the celebration one of the biggest one in KANE's history.
KANE's Onam celebration began at 11.30 in the morning with the Chendamelam, Thaalapoli, Muthukuda and Maveli procession started at the east hallway and ended near the auspicious floral decoration (athapoo). Following that, KANE's longtime associate Mr. Jacob Kallupura delivered a short message on Onam which reminded the gathered crowd about the good old days when Mahabali ruled. After which, the KANE President Mr. Prakash Nellurvalappil and his spouse Mrs. Sandhya Prakash lighted the Onam lamp. Mr. Prakash then addressed the crowd and expressed his gratitude to everyone who joined the celebrations. The program then commenced with the Chendamelam team played a fusion music using drums.
At 12 noon, the ethnic harvest lunch- "Onasadhya" was served. For KANE, it is a tradition they follow every year cooking Onasadhya dishes (21 vegetarian side dishes) themselves. Like previous years, KANE cooked the grand and unmatched delicious Onasadhya two consecutive nights prior to the Onam celebration day. More than 40 people joined together under one roof, cutting and cooking overnight under the leadership of KANE's veteran member Mr. Vaidhyanathan Iyer and Mr. Rajendra Prasad Sivadasan. People cooked several lip-smacking vegetarian dishes which includes-Parippu, Sambar, Avial, Erissery, Pulissery, Kaalan, Pachady, Rasam, Inchicurry, Mango Pickle, Rice and many other sides. Click here to watch KANE's Onasadhya cooking video. KANE's specialty authentic Onasadhya got excellent reviews this year. Reviews can be found on the KANE's website: Click Here
On Onam Celebrations day, the afternoon cultural programs began with the grand Mahabali procession started outside the auditorium and marched on to the stage with Chendamelam, Pulikkali, Thaalapoli, Muthukuda and other plots that showed Kerala's rich tradition. As Mahabali and procession reached the stage, there was a comedy skit with Mahabali, Kerala Police and other characters played different roles, which made the crowd laugh and was well received with big round of applause. Following that, KANE President Mr. Prakash welcomed all the members and families to this special occasion. Mr. P U Palouse (Rt. Headmaster, Ernakulam) delivered the Onam Message, in which he highlighted the significance of Onam and importance of nurturing Kerala's rich tradition and culture while we are abroad. After that, there was the traditional Kerala dance "Thiruvathira", and several other cultural dance programs by KANE community members. Mrs. Nelly Mathews did a masterful job as the MC for the program.
From 4pm to 6pm, the special musical treat program "Raaga Sancharam"- ganamela by the local band Garam Masala was performed on the stage. It was a non-stop musical program, where established local singers sang songs in different languages (Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi, and English) with live orchestra. The crowd cherished and received the good melodies songs from 90s and 80s.
Throughout the celebrations, KANE members reaffirmed their commitment to Kerala's rich heritage and tradition. The crowd found the celebrations enriching as they came together in gratitude for the continuing health and prosperity represented by King Mahabali and the KANE's lip-smacking Onam feast.
KANE Secretary Mr. Jose Mohan gave the vote of thanks, where he thanked the KANE's Board of Directors- Mr. Prakash Nellurvalappil (President), Mr. Babu Punnose (Vice President), Mr. Viju Paul (Joint Secretary), Mrs. Simi Matthew (Arts Secretary), Mr. Roy Varghese (Treasurer), Mr. Jollson Varghese (Public Relations) and the entire members of KANE's executive and arts committee and all others who helped with cooking, for their tireless hard work and dedication in making KANE's 45th Onam celebration a huge success. KANE's leadership for the next year (Oct 1st 2015- Sep 30th 2016) was announced- Mr. Babu Punnose (President), Mrs. Simi Matthew (Vice President), Mr. Viju Paul (Secretary), Mr. Saresh Alambath (Joint Secretary), Mrs. Rosily Varghese(Arts Secretary) Mr. Matthew George (Treasurer) and Mr. Jollson Varghese will manage Public Relations, Web & IT for KANE. Congratulations to them all for their commitment and willingness to serve the larger KANE community as KANE continues its journey in to its 46th year.
To know more about KANE and its events, please visit KANE's website www.kaneusa.org