The OWC arranges a monthly lunch but as I'm not really a luncher especially this close to my one sari wearing night of the year, I don't often attend. Butthis was not one to be missed - Keralan food and a bit culture thrown in!!
Very briefly, Onam is essentially the Keralan Harvest Festival. It falls at the time of the rice harvest. To me, this festival is very special as it transcends caste, religion and community. All Keralities celebrate.
To cut a long and beautiful story short, it marks the annual visit of King Mahabali, who ended up in exile in the underworld, back to earth to visit his loyal subjects. To reassure their lost king and show him all is well in his kingdom Keralities feast, dance and dress in their best. As well as food, dance and music, without which as we know, no India celebration is complete, Onam is marked by cultural performances and sporting events. A true display of all that is great in ‘Gods own country’
OWC had a great turn out, maybe 40 ladies arrived at the Ente Keralam to join the celebration. Along with our welcome drink, we watched the dancer perform “Mohiniattam” –dance of the enchantress. The graceful gentle movements of her body is to represent the meandering rivers, swaying palm leaves and paddy plants of Kerala. The dramatic movements of her hands and fingers and the intense expressions on her face tell a story – usually one of love and devotion to a god.
Her clothing and jewelry is also traditional, down to the thick gold belt, the ankle bands set with bells, her hair in a bun with jasmine on the left side.
After the sensuous movements and expressions of the dancer it was time to awaken our taste buds! To tell you the truth I’m not quite sure what exactly was in the many little silver bowls adorning our banana leaf lined plates but suffice to say it was incredibly delicious, bursting with flavor, color and texture. A thali extravaganza!