Monday, September 19, 2011

Onam 2011 in Paris



Onam is never celebrated on the correct dates in public when you live outside India. At least, this is true in my case. I have only took part in 2 Onam events outside India. The first one was in 1999 when the North American malyalees congregated in Silicon valley. The second time was the last Sunday in Paris.

Why is Onam celebrated on a different date when outside Kerala? The answer is simple. It is difficult to get everyone in a hall in a relaxed atmosphere when you are working abroad. So it is better to do it on a convenient weekend. But the local Maveli had a different and elegant reason to provide. He was busy in Kerala. Now, who can counter that statement? Kerala gets the highest priority in list.

Onam was celebrated in a small town hall near the Porchefountaine station. Near the venue, there were printouts with arrows pointing to the town hall. At the entrance, a table was laid out with two plates containing sandalwood paste and jasmine flowers. The town hall was filled with more than 100 people consisting of different nationalities but predominantly Indian. The traditional mundu and Kerala sarees were the popular dress code.













The event started after 12 pm with Maveli walking into the hall. The local version of Maveli was an emancipated one of what we have seen before. But he could speak Malayalam with a Thrissur slang. This was followed by songs and dance for about twenty minutes. Then, there was the traditional feast in Travancore style. I didn't know there was one in this style. To put it in simple words, rasam and moru are served after the payasam.



















After the feast, there was socializing. New contacts made. There were young guns who are either attending university or recently landed up in a job. There were also veterans who have been here for a while.





Surprisingly for a malayalee event, there was no alcohol; not even the characteristic car in the parking lot with booze in the trunk. So, it was a very sober affair. At the end of day, it was making new friends, sharing memories and advices...


Tags: Travel,Onam,Paris


23 comments:

  1. was busy in kerala - yes who can beat that now ;)
    after ganesh chaturthi, time for onam. which is the next ?

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  2. @Sujatha - he he. I think next will be Diwali. I still need to figure which group is celebrating Diwali before covering it. ;)

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  3. Unlike India, the other countries do not get holidays for festivals. Except for independence day. Every thing else is celebrated on the weekends. So also Onam!!

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  4. @Radha - True. It is a matter of convenience. The emphasis over here is to meet people from the same culture, make friends and share experiences.

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  5. Sounds like a good celebration...I too had attended my first ganesh celebration by the local marathi association this year, in all these years I never felt like attending it somehow, had heard horror stories of cliques and groupism and internal regionalism within such associations.
    Do such problems exist in the Malayali associations ???

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  6. @Anjali - Such problems exist whenever there is an association. Here is what I came to know. There are two associations in Paris. This was hosted by one of the associations. Here, things are usually quiet with a bit of programs and socializing. The other association, things are colorful and usually ends up in a heated argument. These are all hearsay. So, please don't quote me on it. :)

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  7. Nona

    thanks for this third person review on how Malayalees celebrate Onam outside Kerala. Thank u very much fr sharing the pictures also..

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  8. Nice to see you all celebrate Onam ,doesn't matter if it was on the original date or not.I have attended few of Indian festivals abroad and they all take place in weekends - i liked the concept so much that now celebrate my kid's birthdays on weekends .Thanks for sharing the event.

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  9. @Tomz - My pleasure.

    @Kavita - That is so true. We are celebrating our kid's birthday on weekends so that it is convenient for everyone to participate...

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  10. WOW! Such celebrations makes us feel less away from home. :)
    Thanks for sharing the snaps. Feel so proud to be an Indian.

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  11. @SpicySweet - You are right. I felt very good after the celebrations after meeting so many from Kerala.

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  12. wow.... it looked like India :)
    I could have never guess it was Paris.. It looked a typical street of Kerala :)

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  13. nice! :) didn't know these festivals were celebrated in foreign countries too. :) nice pics!

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  14. @CivilPrincess - Thanks for dropping by. Yes, these are celebrated worldwide. Each country has expatriate associations which comes up with colorful events.

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  15. And the meal looks pretty authentic with banana leaves and all :)

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  16. @Purba - I do not know how they got the banana leaf. It must have been tough to get it out here. The meal was authentic with some of the items flown directly from India. :)

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  18. @Rasheed - Thanks for dropping by. I will drop by your blog.

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  19. nice celebration, like done in kerala

    belated onam wishes

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  20. @Krishna - Thanks for dropping by. Almost like what is done in Kerala except the Maveli is usually large-sized. :)

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  21. Saw ur post when I googled for 'onam celebration paris' :) Lovely read!
    Do you know if there will be a similar event this year?

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    Replies
    1. Check out KCA Paris on Facebook. I am no longer based in Paris. But this is the group which conducts Malayalee events. Another place to check is "Indians in Paris" group on Facebook.

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