AN Indian king’s return was celebrated on the Border on the weekend with gold-laced saris, traditional dancing and a vegetarian feast.
Onam is the largest and most important festival for people who have lived in the state of Kerala in India.
Albury-Wodonga Kerala Malayalee Association festival co-ordinator Abraham Mamootil said about 60 people gathered to celebrate a legend.
“We celebrate with joy and enthusiasm,” he said.
The Onam festival recognises a popular myth from when the demon king Mahabali was reigning.
He was highly regarded by the people in the state of Kelara but due to being egotistical, his reign was brought to an end and he was sent to hell as the gods felt threatened by his popularity.
But due to the king’s good deeds, he was allowed to annually visit his people who he adored.
Dr Mamootil said the festival was celebrated all over the world by people who used to live in Kerala and even if there were only two Malayalee people in one place, they would still meet to celebrate.
They dance around a candle surrounded by brightly coloured flowers to welcome the king.
“We celebrate to impress the king and show we are happy and wish him well,” Dr Mamootil said.
“We must honour the earth and the king.”
He said the festival reminded the Malayalee people to not tell lies or hurt others.
In India, the return is celebrated with elephants and boats but Dr Mamootil said they celebrated in Albury with an elaborate feast, folk songs, elegant dances and energetic games.
It is known to be a colourful celebration and he said theirs was no exception, even though they were far away from their home.