Relationship: Child of im/migrant

Onam is one of the biggest celebrations everyone is awaiting for every year. In Kerala (India), schools are closed for ten days. Every morning, women make ‘pookalam’ (made from flower petals) in front of the house for these ten days. On the day of ‘thiruvonam’, we have our huge feast and afterwards, see ‘pulikalli’, ‘thiruvadira’, and play many other games. When my parents came into this country, they did not have any other family members with them. Overtime, they found other people from Kerala and they all joined and celebrate together. We do not celebrate for ten days, instead we find one day, during a weekend, where most of us can come together and celebrate. We find a school to rent and do our programs there. On this day, we wear our best traditional colorful clothes, jewelries, ‘mullapoo’ on our heads, looking our best. One group will be making the ‘pookalam’ in the main hallway of school and in the afternoon, we have the feast (made of rice and numerous curries, each prepared from a different household) in the cafeteria. After the feast, we all go to the auditorium waiting to see the cultural programs. We have women playing traditional dance, ‘thiruvadira’, and certain guest speakers giving valuable messages and wishes to everybody. Then we have our cultural programs that include both traditional and modern dancing, singing and plays, etc. It is a fun and enjoyable time for everybody. We celebrate Onam every year to preserve our culture in this foreign country and we try our best to mimic our culture as much as possible. 

Place(s): India, New York

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant