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Over 500 people gathered to celebrate Onam

Calgary, September 19: Over 500 people gathered in Airdrie Saturday to celebrate Onam.

The cultural festival took place at the Town and Country Centre, where it welcomed Malayees of all backgrounds and faiths.

Onam is celebrated in the Indian state of Kerala. It commemorates King Mahahbali and his values of equality, wisdom and justice.

Organizers say legend has it that on this day, the king comes back and visits his subjects

The event aims to welcome the king with a feast, along with traditional songs and dance, to show him that they are happy, health and together.

“The spirit of togetherness (is strong) because Onam’s unique distinction is that it’s celebrated by people of all faiths,” said Meera Unnikrishnan of Hindu Malayalees of Calgary. “Much like the Calgary snow, Onam is a unifier because it brings people together. It’s a day in its truest sense, a community festival (where) the young, the old, everybody comes together and enjoys the goodies.”

The group says there are over 20,000 Malayees living in Alberta.

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