Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has inaugurated the week-long Onam celebrations.
It has set the stage for presenting before a wider audience a variety of classical, folk, ethnic and popular art forms in multiple venues in the state capital and districts across the state over the next seven days.
Opening the state-wide celebrations organised by the Kerala Tourism Department at a grand function at Nishagandhi, Kanakakkunnu Palace grounds here on Tuesday, he described Onam as an enduring symbol of hope, resilience and resurgence which has an added significance this time as humanity is recovering from the disruptions caused by the Covid-19.
“Onam this time comes with promise and hope. In the last two years, humanity had passed through an unprecedented situation that curbed festivals and get-togethers. As the pandemic is receding, the festive spirit and the happiness that get-togethers bring are back in our lives. However, Covid has not completely vanished, and we have to continue our vigil against its return and spread,” Vijayan added.
Tourism Minister P A Mohamed Riyas, who presided over the function, said Onam spreads the message of equality, which has a great relevance in this era.
Minister for General Education and Labour V Sivankutty, in his welcome address, said post Covid, people have swiftly embraced the real spirit of Onam with overwhelming enthusiasm.
Minister for Food and Civil Supplies GR Anil; Minister for Transport Antony Raju; Dr Shashi Tharoor, MP; A A Rahim, MP; IB Satheesh, MLA; Kadakampally Surendran, MLA; VK Prasanth, MLA; D Suresh Kumar, President, District Panchayat; KS Sreenivas, Principal Secretary, Kerala Tourism; and PB Nooh, Director, Kerala Tourism, were present on the occasion.
Aparna Balamurali, who won the national award for best actress, and actor Dulquer Salmaan were the chief guests.
Dulquer Salmaan lauded the efforts of Kerala Tourism for magnificently conducting Onam celebrations.
Aparna Balamurali said it’s heartening to see the vibrancy and ecstasy of the people in capital city for the Onam celebrations.
Heralding the festival ahead of the inaugural ceremony, Ilanjithara Melam, led by Kalamandalam Sivadas, was performed at Nishagandhi auditorium.
The festival will feature over 8,000 artistes, half of whom are from traditional streams. The cultural extravaganza will conclude on September 12 with colourful pageantries in the state capital and other centres.
As part of the Onam celebrations, special illumination has turned the capital city into glittering zones from Kaudiar to East Fort and from Vellayambalam to Sasthamangalam.
The festival has, over the years, become one of the most popular cultural events that enthrals both tourists visiting the Kerala during the season and the local communities as well.
In the capital district alone, programmes will be staged in as many as 32 venues.