Onam Festival celebrated in Goulburn

ONAM FESTIVAL: MC Josiya Shinto, GMC manager Heni Hardi, MC Jai Krishnan, Father Assin Vaughese, Dr. Velu Thanka and 'King Mahabali' acted by Maximin George at the grand festival celebration.
ONAM FESTIVAL: MC Josiya Shinto, GMC manager Heni Hardi, MC Jai Krishnan, Father Assin Vaughese, Dr. Velu Thanka and 'King Mahabali' acted by Maximin George at the grand festival celebration.

The annual Hindu Onam Festival was celebrated in Goulburn recently. 

The festival started with a sports festival, where badminton and a football competition were played, in the Veolia Arena on September 9.

Over 100 people attended the grand function in relation to the festival in St Joseph's Hall, Goulburn on September 16. 

Multicultural Centre manager Heni Hardi, along with special guests Father Assin Vaughese and Dr Velu Thanka from Crookwell lit the candles to start teh function.

“Any cultural function starts with lighting as this officially embarks the inauguration,” Me Hardi said. 

“They then received the special gift named a Ponnadai, which is a superfine looking cloth generally made of silk in golden colour or velvet pink used to put around the neck like a garland for respecting the presence of a VIP. It is hand made especially for this function.”

She said the organisers of the Onam Festival were the Malayali Family – who are new to the Indian community in Goulburn.

Ms Hardi said the food and entertainment was spectacular, with five group dances and four group singing performances

“The important thing was when the King Mahabali came to the stage (acted by Maximin George),” she said. 

“The legend of King Mahabali is the most popular and the most fascinating of all legends behind Onam, which celebrates the visit of King Mahabali to the state of Kerala every year.

“The festival is celebrated with fervour as King Mahabali is greatly respected by his subjects.” 

Ms Hardi said about 15 people from the Goulburn Multicultural Centre attended the event

“They were from many diverse cultures but were wearing Indian costumes to respect them,” she said. 

Ms Hardi welcomed the Malayali family to Goulburn.

"How lucky is Goulburn to have an Indian community? The Goulburn Multicultural Centre likes to celebrate special days like ONAM and welcomes everyone to Goulburn Multicultural Festival and Harmony Day where all communities celebrate,” she said.  

“Most of the Malayali family in Goulburn are Multicultural Centre clients. We supports them with an English class and driving lessons as well as social activities like women's group and holiday program. "

She said the president of the Indian community is Maximin George, the treasurer is Babu Mothew, the sports committee member is Jobin Thomas, the art committee member is Joi Krishuan and the food committee member is Shythu Sebastian. 

“Malayali Australians are Australians whose ancestors, or themselves identify with Malayalam language,” Ms Hardi said.

“Malayalis originate from the South Indian state of Kerala and is one of the fastest growing populations in Australia, with a 139 per cent increase in Malayalam speakers from 2001 to 2006.”