Onam: A taste of the global village in Norfolk County

By Rev. Paul Sherwood

On Saturday, August 25, the kitchen and parish hall at Trinity Simcoe was abuzz with culinary activity as students from South India cooked up a spicy storm to celebrate the traditional harvest festival of Onam.

Following some opening games and songs performed in Malayalam and Hindi, parishioners and visitors were treated to a variety of vegetarian pickles, curries, rice and sweets. The food was served on (paper) banana leaves and although the students eat with their hands they were gracious to provide us with spoons. One parishioner was quite overwhelmed by the heat of the food and was administered water and cold milk! It was delightful to see their traditional dress as some of the ladies wore Sarees and the young men were very proud to show off their Mundus.

Aleena, Albin and Alvin at Holy Trinity, Simcoe

The students involved all come from the Indian state of Kerala and came to Simcoe in January as international students studying the Social Service Worker program at the Simcoe campus of Fanshawe College.

Their arrival has certainly added some cultural diversity to the otherwise homogenous market town. A number of the students are regular members of Trinity church and certainly feel part of the parish family.

It was very touching to hear them speak of the welcome and support they feel at Trinity and how happy they were to be able to use the church facilities to hold the celebration. We certainly feel very blessed by these wonderful young people.

Although Saturday was very much a happy celebration, not far from the minds of all of us was the tragedy unfolding in their homeland due to the worst monsoon flooding in a century. We certainly keep the people of Kerala in our prayers.

We were all most grateful to be able to share this special occasion with them and for all the hard work they put into the event.

Rev. Paul Sherwood is the rector of Trinity Church, Simcoe