Christmas/New Year celebration
SMA usually conducts this activity in December/January of each year. Traditional Kerala style cultural programs are conducted along with New Year celebrations. Arrivals of Santa, gift exchanges, food drive etc are few of the key items of Christmas New Year celebration. During this occasion, SMA emphasizes the value of giving. Many times this showcases our commitment to the next generation who will be part of the culture and lifestyle of the adopted land.
Easter celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead, and it is Christianity’s most important holiday. Easter falls in March/April. Vishu is a festival based on Hindu beliefs, celebrated in the Indian state of Kerala and in the Tulunadu region usually in the second week of April in the Gregorian calendar. It marks the New Year in accordance with Kolla Varsham the Malayalam calendar. This occasion signifies the sun’s transit into the Meda Raasi (first zodiac sign) according to Indian astrological calculations, and represents the vernal equinox. “Vishu” in Sanskrit means “equal”. The most important event in Vishu is the Vishukkani, which literally means “the first thing seen on the day of Vishu after waking up”. The Vishukkani consists of a ritual arrangement of auspicious articles. On Vishu, the custom is to wake up at dawn and go to the puja room with eyes closed so that the Vishukkani is the first sight in the new season. “Vishukkaineettam” is another important tradition, where people of haves give alms to the poor and needy.
During this event, SMA members sway away from the traditional Kerala style food to western type picnic /outdoor cooking. This is another opportunity for our association to show how easily and effortlessly we can mingle with and adapt to a new culture. This teaches our kids an important lesson, that we are part of the adopted land. So many physical and fun activities as well as competitions are conducted during picnic. Those activities include traditional games from Kerala as well as other fun activities.
Onam is the state festival of Kerala. Celebrated in the first month ‘Chingam’ according to the Malayalee Calender, it is also the annual harvest festival of the state. The festival falls in the month of August to September according to the Gregorian calendar. The celebrations of Onam go ten days long up to Tiruvonam and in some cases to twelve days long until Chatayam (twelfth day). The celebrations of Onam include elaborate rituals, music, dances, sports, boat races and of course scrumptious foods. There are several legends and stories attached with the festival. The most popular story is that the entire festival is celebrated to welcome Malayalees’ dear king Mahabali to earth for his annual visit of his beloved people.
This once a year celebration gives SMA members a great opportunity to show their talent at best. This is also an avenue for Malayalees to mingle with other south Indian cultures such as Tamil, Kannada, and Telugu. Life in Kerala in many ways affected by the language, arts, and cultural life of the neighboring states named Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Andhrapradesh in southern India. There are many common threads within the language and art forms, however each one is unique. We use this once a year celebration to compete, showoff, learn and share our talents and charisma.