Onam in the RGV

by Mary T. Walker 

  The community of persons descendent of Kerala, India (MARV) has grown large enough in the RGV for them to gather on this season called Onam and celebrate. King Mahabali, a former ruler of the region of Kerala state, lives on in myth as they consider him their greatest ruler. The  myth stipulates that Mahabali visit all his people wherever in the world they may be (like in the RGV) during the Kerala harvest season to witness them happy and still prospering as they did when he reigned.

Edinburg auditorium hosted the Onam event's last day for the Malayalee Association of the Rio Grande Valley (MARV), This gathering was overseen by Edinburg's Mayor Richard Garcia accompanied by his wife, both in full Indian attire. 


"It is one of the most enjoyable events we've attended this year, " Mayor Garcia replied when asked his impression of the event. He and his wife had just come from being on stage and adorned with a colorful sash each across their shoulders--a show of respect and thanks. The Mayor had spoken to the full auditorium of dressed up Valley members honoring their Indian heritage. He helped light the incense with the MARV officers. Garcia also stood as every South Indian did when a young one sang the U.S. national anthem. 

The Onam legend states that the King desires to see his people during harvest time living richly. So the descendants of his people yearly shrug off any woe while dressing up, smiling, feasting, and reveling in the culture of the homeland.

 One of the MARV members dressed up as King Mahabali to encourage the continuing of celebration. He jokingly commented in Malayalam (the native southern Keralite tongue) how he knew where to go for the final day of Onam celebration by checking FaceBook and reading comments.  

Seated now and smiling in their regalia, Edinburg Mayor Garcia adds, "It was an eye opener just going to the stores for clothes and products to this...such a..."

"Rich culture," Mrs. Garcia completed the thought as he nodded.

She continued looking at the stage where the dressed up youth were gathering for another part of the show, "I like how they incorporate the younger generation."

Until next Onam, RGV South Indians!