Onam celebrations continue with a cultural festival tomorrow

Aavanipoovarangu is a cultural festival organised every year in Chennai by the Confederation of Tamil Nadu Malayalee Associations (CTMA), the apex body of around 150 Malayalee Associations in different parts of Tamil Nadu. It represents the aspirations of around 43 lakh Malayalees in different parts of the State and is perhaps the biggest Onam celebration outside of Kerala. This is the fifteenth successive year that the festival is being held. It is being organised in collaboration with The Hindu on October 20 at the YMCA Grounds, Royapettah.

The aim of the festival is to create awareness about the rich cultural heritage of Kerala not only among the non-resident Malayalees in the State but also among the Tamil population.

The highlight of the event is the replication of Kerala’s famous Thrissur Pooram. Safety considerations prevent the participation of live elephants in the show, hence there will be life-size replicas, elaborately ornamented, with ‘mahouts’ seated atop them, performing complicated rituals such as the ‘kodamattam’ or the exchange of ornamental umbrellas.

Aavanipoovarangu is also an occasion to hold various competitions as is the practice in Kerala during the Onam season. Chief among the competitions is the ‘pookalam’ – colourful, intricate designs made on the ground with flowers. The Hindu awards prize money of Rs. 50,000, Rs. 30,000 and Rs. 20,000 to the winners of the first, second and third places.

It is a forum to recognise the contributions of people in the fields of art, culture and service. The Melur Damodaran Memorial Literary Award, Balakrishnan Maangadu Memorial Award, the Bharatiraja Memorial Award for Malayalee children who have scored the highest marks in the Board Exams in Standards 10 and 12, the Dr. V. P. Siddhan Memorial Drama Award, the T. Gopalan Nair Memorial Service Award, and the CTMA Literary Awards are only some of these. The traditional Onam Sadhya for all visitors, complete with parippu, pappadam, aviyal, kaalan, olan, theeyal, eruserry, puliserry, thoran, inji curry, upperi, payasam and more, is another huge attraction.

As part of the celebrations, every year 100 deserving people are identified and given a gift of Rs. 10,000 each. In this way, we have been able to lend a helping hand to many poor families over the years.

There is no entry fee and the event is open to the public after 1 p.m.