Since the first Shahi Parvani falls on August 29, Onam celebrations have been pushed to October 3.
“The city is hosting the Kumbh Mela on a grand scale, which, besides being a major event, also holds national significance.
So we have decided to postpone the annual community feast and cultural evening to ring in Onam to October 3,” said Gokulam Gopalkrishna Pillai, president of the Nasik Malayalee Cultural Association.
Onam being the biggest festival of the Malayalees, it is celebrated by across the length and breath of the country with full fervour on August 28. And while the annual community feast and cultural programme marking Onam celebrations in Nashik have been postponed to October 3, the Malayalees will nonetheless be celebrating the festival in their homes, preparations for which are in full swing.
“There are as many as 680 Malayalee families in Nashik city alone. Including the residents of Deolali, Nashik Road and other adjacent towns, the community’s population is more than 4,000 in the region,” Pillai said.
Onam celebrations commenced from August 19 itself. On the first day of the celebrations, known as ‘Atham’, the women begin with the traditional ritual of laying the ‘pookalam’ (floral carpets). Beautiful floral decorations can be seen at several Malayalee houses from this day onwards. The most important day of the 10-day festival, ‘Thiru Onam’, falls on August 28, just a day before the first Parvani. Since most of the public venues in the city are booked for security personnel while others would be flooded with tourists, the Nasik Malayalee Cultural Association has decided to hold the celebrations only after the Kumbh Mela rush subsides.
“We have decided to participate in the Mela and provide all possible assistance to the administration. Initially, we will be providing 100 trained volunteers to assist cops and visitors, especially those from Kerala,” Pillai added.
Secretary of the association Suresh Babu said that the association was particularly working for the cause of blood donation.
“We have collected 80 bags of blood and donated them to the administration especially for the Mela,” he said.