Malayalee community celebrates King Mahabali

By Morgan Dyer

The spirit of a king was moving and grooving in Shepparton this weekend to celebrate a special Indian tradition.

Every year members of the local Malayalee community, who originate from Kerala in India, celebrate the legend of King Mahabali.

The ancient king's spirit is believed to pass through Kerala at this time every year, during the festival known as Onam.

The Shepparton event's organiser Aneesh Jolly said more than 300 people attended Notre Dame College's hall, where the celebration included food, music, laughter and dancing.

“Our community numbers in the community are growing and this is a major festival that everyone wants to celebrate,” Mr Jolly said.

Mr Jolly likened the scale of the event to Christmas.

"It’s like Christmas in a way as it is not confined to a religion,” he said.

City of Greater Shepparton Mayor Kim O’Keeffe attended the spectacular performance, and beaming smiles were seen throughout the crowd as performers brought joy to hundreds.

The celebrations continued throughout the afternoon as people young and old indulged in a variety of traditional dishes served on banana leaves.

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