Onam Celebrated at Rashtrapati Bhavan
Thiruvananthapuram: President Pranab Mukherjee hosted hundreds of guests at his official residence for an evening that celebrated the sights, sounds and colours of the Onam festival at a special programme organised by the Government of Kerala at the Rashtrapati Bhavan for the first time.
Titled `Kairali,’ the Onam evening on Saturday provided a glimpse into a variety of unique art forms of Kerala that demonstrate the spirit of the secular festival which has through ages reinforced the idea of unity in diversity.
Organised by Kerala’s Tourism Department in partnership with the Rashtrapati Bhavan’s 'Indra Dhanush' cultural series, the programme was graced by dignitaries, including Vice President Hamid Ansari, Kerala Governor P Sadasivam, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, his Cabinet colleagues A C Moideen, E Chandrasekharan, Kadannappally Ramachandran, A K Sasindran, K K Shylaja , J Mercikutty Amma and K T Jaleel, Kerala High Court Acting Chief Justice Mohan M Shantanagoudar, MPs, senior State and Central Government officials, including State Chief Secretary S M Vijayanand IAS as well as Ambassadors from the Gulf nations.
``Onam is a festival that transcends the barriers of caste, creed and social status. It is a secular festival celebrated by one and all,’’ said Pinarayi Vijayan, who spoke on the occasion. ``Onam reminds us every year of the spirit of love, brotherhood, peace and harmony.’’
Venu Rajamony IFS, Press Secretary to the President, who was instrumental in bringing the first state-led Onam celebrations to the Rashtrapati Bhavan, welcomed the gathering.
Around 70 artists performed at the hour-long cultural programme. It began with a `Vadyamanjari’ a percussion ensemble presented by the Delhi Panchavadya Trust, followed by a performance of Kerala’s classical dance form Mohiniyattam by Dr. Jayaprabha Menon and her team.
Artists from Kerala Kalamandalam presented Kathakali, and Girija Chandran choreographed a medley of performance arts, including Mayoora Nritham, Kerala Natanam, Margamkali, Oppana, Thiruvathirakali and Theyyam as well as Kerala’s martial arts Kalaripayattu, to a song written by Prabha Varma and set to music by Mathew T Itty, who also conceived and directed the show.
The guests were also treated to an ‘Onasadya,’ the grand feast served during the festival.