JOYFUL JUBILATION: The harvest festival, which lasts 10 days, continues as the nation marks the formation of Malaysia
IPOH: SOME 700 members of the Perak Malayalee Association (PMA) recently celebrated Onam together with Malaysia Day in advance at the Town Hall, here.
Onam is a harvest festival celebrated with joy and enthusiasm by the community.
According to legend, the festival is to welcome King Mahabali, whose spirit is said to visit Kerala at the time of Onam.
The 10-day festival marks a time of feasting, dancing and merry-making.
The event's guest of honour, Barisan National (Ipoh Timur) chairman Datuk Thong Fah Chong, donated RM3,000 to the association.
PMA president, R. Narayanah, said the association had recently purchased a third shoplot. This follows the first shoplot in Taman Mas and the second in Bandar Ipoh Raya.
"They were bought through donations and these properties will benefit our descendents," he said.
"Our members have started to use facilities like the karaoke, carom set and television set, and also attend language classes in the lot."
The colourful celebration began with the lighting of the lamp by Thong and PMA committee members on stage.
This was followed by rituals and prayers performed by King Mahabali.
PMA women's wing members, in cream white, then performed a dance called Thiruvathira Kali.
Another of the evening's highlights was a graceful semi-classical Indian dance performance by Dinesh Gopalan Nair and Duwaraka Jeyakumar.
Sixteen students who had excelled in their examinations received academic excellence awards from the association.
A special award was presented to members who had been conferred the Darjah Ahli Mahkota Perak (AMP) on the 84th birthday of the Sultan of Perak last April.
They were P. Chandra Sagaran (New Straits Times journalist), Velayutham P. Narayanan (PMA executive committee member) and Balakrishna Balaravi Pillai (PMA youth chairman).
The event ended with a traditional costume parade by the association members.