Onam was celebrated by all of the companies in Infopark during the first week of September 2014. On Friday, September 5 most of the companies campus-wide participated in the festivities. The festivities started in the morning between 8-8:30am. Employees were asked to come in early to cut and arrange flowers into the traditional flower carpet (pookkalam), which would be finished by 1pm to be judged by the Infopark committee members. (Yes, even with a team of 10-20, these pookkalams require at least 3-4 hours to complete!)
After the judging, companies and teams may partake in the Onasadya (Onam feast) and enjoy a leisurely afternoon socializing and networking. While some bigger companies have their own Onam cultural programs, other companies join a campus wide cultural program with dances, skits, orations, singing, and many games including spoon egg race, musical chairs, tug of war, and other competitions. Of course, too, no Onam celebration can be complete without a visit from King Maveli and the pulikali (tiger play) dancers.
Foreign visitors, especially Americans, visiting the campus at this time would really enjoy seeing and participating in all of the cultural programs. They may also be shocked and surprised to notice that for many not a shred of work gets done today. Though it’s a working day, many are in the holiday mood participating in activities from the start of the work day until the end of the work day. This would shock most Americans because while Americans certainly have holiday parties with their colleagues, the party would be conducted only for a few hours during the work day (most likely coupled with the lunch hour) or after hours, so that the working hours and work doesn’t get impacted.
If you are curious to know more about Onam, what is Onam, and the legends behind Onam, read this post.
Note: The photo at the beginning of this post is a typical decoration found in windows during this season. The script in Malayalam says Onaashamsakal, or Happy Onam.
Jennifer Kumar, an American citizen living in Kochi, India is the Managing Director of Authentic Journeys, a business coaching and consultancy firm bridging the cultural gap between Indians and their US counterparts. The office, located in the NRI-TBI incubator is situated in the Thapasya building on the first floor. Contact her for more information.
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