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Oklahoma Malayalee Association to hold holiday celebration

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A screenshot from the Oklahoma Malayalee Association's 2014 Christmas and New Year's event.
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OKLAHOMA CITY -- In recent years several different traveling chefs who are featured on the Travel Channel have made their way to the southern Indian state of Kerala which is located on the Indian Ocean.

Their resulting productions have shown the natural beauty of that state that is home to seemingly friendly elephants, pristine beaches, flavorful foods, and friendly and often colorful residents.

The primary language spoken there is Malayalam, and that melodious tongue can be heard on those shows as well. And residents of Oklahoma City will soon have the opportunity to taste the culinary fare and cultural heritage of Kerala from 4:30-9 p.m. on Jan. 29 at Frederick Douglass High School in Oklahoma City when the Oklahoma Malayalee Association hosts its belated Christmas and New Year celebration.  

The keynote speaker at that gathering will be Pastor Mories Samson of the International Pentecostal Association and his speech will be followed by three hours of Indian cultural presentations.

A dinner of Indian and Keralite food will follow. Kerala has provided India with several Bollywood film stars, and it is anticipated that some of the entertainment offered will include songs and dances that have been featured in popular Bollywood films.

Oklahoma is now home to many immigrants from throughout the Indian subcontinent and many of them are Malayalam speakers who were originally from Kerala.

The Malayalee Association of Oklahoma is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1995 by several leaders of that community. One of those leaders, Reji Varghese, filmed and recorded from his Edmond home and the surrounding area for several years a situation comedy in Malayalam that was broadcast in Kerala.

It has been reported that some residents of Kerala became familiar with some public parks in Edmond as a result of the episodes that were filmed there.

The association maintains an office that contains a library of books in Malayalam as well as films in that tongue.

Forms from the Indian Consular Office are available there as well for members who wish to travel to India or need copies of official documents from the Indian government.

Varghese, who currently serves as vice president of the association, recently explained that several cultural festivals have been held by the association in recent years and that most of them were held in the Czech Hall located in Yukon, since Yukon is home to many members of Oklahoma’s Keralite community, and that those events were well attended.

He also said that the community is looking forward to sharing more of their culture with their fellow Oklahomans at the upcoming event.

The Oklahoma Malayalee Association Christmas and New Year’s Celebrations will be held at Frederick A. Douglass High School at 900 N. Martin Luther King Ave. in Oklahoma City.

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Bill O'Brien

Bill O'Brien is an attorney based in Oklahoma City.

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