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Onam festival celebrates Indian culture

Onam festival Bundaberg
The Onam festival was celebrated at the Civic Centre in Bundaberg on Saturday.

The Civic Centre was transformed into a celebration of culture, colour, food and fun at the weekend with more than 300 people taking part in the annual Onam festival.

Hosted by the Bundaberg Indian Malayalee Association, the event is a celebration derived from Kerala and is the official festival of the state.

According to mythology, Onam festival is celebrated to honour the kind-hearted and much-beloved demon King Mahabali, who is believed to return to Kerala during this festival season to visit people.

“Even though Onam is primarily a Hindu festival, non-Hindu communities also celebrate Onam,” BIMA member Neenu Amal said.

“It is considered more of a cultural festival which is all-inclusive, than a religious one.

“To mark the auspicious day, people draw flower carpets called Pookkalam near their doors to welcome Mahabali.”

Neenu said 300 people participated in this year's local festivities in the Bundaberg Region.

The event featured Onasadya (feast), Pulikali (tiger dances), tug of war, Thumbi Thullal (women's dance), Kummatikali (mask dance), Onathallu (martial arts), Vallamkali (boat races) and other celebrations.

“We as a community celebrate this event every year and members of the community group invite their friends and dear ones for the celebration,” Neenu said.

“Every year many people outside the community come along to watch the cultural celebration and join with us.

“It is a celebration of humanity and unity and beyond the frontiers of religion people celebrate humanity.”

Onam festival Bundaberg
The weekend's Onam festival was a celebration of Indian culture, held at the Civic Centre.

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