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Overseas Health Insurance News: Expats join in Onam celebrations in UAE

Expatriates living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have joined in with locals to celebrate a traditional South Indian festival.

Onam Sadhya marks a successful harvest and is celebrated for ten days in September, with cooking and feasting taking centre stage.

The India Social and Cultural Centre (ISC) ensures that traditions are upheld for Indians living in Abu Dhabi, but is an inclusive organisation, welcoming expats and Emiratis alike.

This evening (September 19th) they will join together with around 200 people originally from Kerala in India to prepare special food ahead of the grand Onam lunch tomorrow, reports the Gulf News.

Some 3,000 guests are expected to attend the ISC's celebratory meal, which consists of 27 courses, including two different types of sweet porridge known as payasam.

In order to get all of the food prepared in time, the 200 volunteers will work tirelessly, chopping and cooking vegetables and pulling together.

One expat, who was involved in Onam last year and will take part again today, said: "It was fascinating. I never saw such massive cooking pots."

The community centre on Mena Road will also be involved in the celebrations as it puts on traditional entertainment.

Those who attend the festivities there can expect to see an Onam parade, tiger dance and flower carpets decorated with fresh blooms.

Derek Magil, a project director from Scotland, who has lived in Abu Dhabi for two years, told the news provider: "There is a huge Indian community where I come from. There are hundreds of Indian and Pakistani restaurants back home and I have grown up on Indian spices.

"I am really amazed by the camaraderie displayed by the people here."

Onam is a good opportunity for people from many different origins who live in Abu Dhabi to come together and learn more about each other.

Thomas John, president of the ISC, said: "It is amazing to see how they admire and appreciate our culture. This cultural exchange is one of the advantages of living in the UAE and we are happy to promote it."

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