Festive fervour. The Keralite community in Abu Dhabi kicked off Onam celebrations on Wednesday. The festivities will continue for a month. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/XPRESS

Abu Dhabi: The Keralite community in Abu Dhabi is celebrating Onam, the harvest festival of Kerala, with feasts and festivities that will last a month.

The festival, regarded as the biggest in the South Indian state began on Wednesday.

Families cooked special vegetarian meals called ‘Onam Sadhya,’ and wore new clothes to mark the annual homecoming of the legendary King Mahabali.

As part of the festivities, India Social and Cultural Centre (ISC) will hold one of the biggest Onam Sadhyas this Friday.

ISC President Thomas Varghese said the centre will hold a feast for its 4,000 community members. “ISC Onam is one of the most widely participated events in our calendar, drawing people from various communities,” said Varghese.

Special chefs

Chefs have been specially flown in from Kerala to prepare the feast that consists of 28 types of vegetarian dishes served on banana leaves.

“The preparations begin the previous day, and we have more than 150 volunteers to help with cutting the vegetables and serving,” said Varghese.

ISC will also hold a special Onam Festival on September 22 that will showcase Kathakali, Thiruvathira, Pulikali dances along with traditional orchestra performances. A group of cine artists, playback singers and comedians will also entertain the audience.

Other community organisations and alumni groups are also planning Onam celebrations in the coming weeks.

Kerala Social Centre, one of the oldest community groups in Abu Dhabi, will holds its grand celebrations on September 23 and a feast in October. Indian Islamic Centre in Abu Dhabi will hold an Onam celebration during the last week of September.