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“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” – GALATIANS 6:9

Harvest festival is an annual celebration that occurs at the time of harvest of each region. This celebration has different names in different parts of the world. In US we call it Thanksgiving. In India, the name designated depends on the region. I have been fortunate enough to experience the Lohri of Punjab, Bihu of Assam, Makarsakranti of Uttarpradesh, Pongal of Tamilnadu and Onam of Kerala. I enjoyed the colors and festivities associated with different fall festivals. But hands down my favorite is Onam. This is because my taste buds are 100 % Keralite. I know most of you have your own stories about Onam to share. My fond memories of Onam include enjoying the sadhya made by my mom, pookalam made by me with cousins, trips to payasam mela, enjoying pullikalli at school, cheering the boat racers and adrenaline rush at tug of war. You may be thinking where is this going? I am trying to steer everyone’s attention to the most awaited festival of the fall organized by our own St. Gregorios men and women. Every year around this time, the little ones and the older ones come together and organize this big event at our church premises.

Harvest festival is no less than a mela with food corners, dance performances, kid’s games, health education booth and auctions. If you want to have a hassle free, cooking free family day to yourself make sure to come by St. Gregorios Orthodox church at Raleigh on September 30th from 3-8 pm. You will encounter different food counters (both vegetarian and non-vegetarian) to entertain every palette. What else is better than homemade food spiced with love and condiments? My personal favorite is “meen polichathu” a much sought Kerala delicacy cooked to perfection in banana leaves. Being a food lover, I go to the festival primarily to grab a bite of it. Only the best cooks can prepare our delicacies which includes hot kappa and meen curry, pothichoru, chappathi and beef, samosas, parippu vada, pazhmpori, dosas, omelettes, burgers, katti rolls, desserts like cake and kulfi. To wash it all down don’t forget our drink station with the mango lassi, fresh lime juice, tea and coffee. Our mango lassi was a talk of the town last year. People drove throughout the triangle to gulp it down. Another all-time favorite is pothichoru.

Remember, the early bird catches the worm. So, make sure that you are on time. Wait a minute we are not done yet! After the food if you feel too full, hang around for our auctions, dance and song performances. This time around we have added a new twist to make the performances more exciting. The best team is going to take home cash prizes. If you are still thinking that’s it my friends, you are wrong! Don’t miss the chance to bid on some quality products. Who knows, maybe you would go home as the raffle prize winner or even strike a good deal at our auctions. Worried about the kids? Just bring them to the game area. I assure you, it will be hard to take them back home.

I go to the harvest festival because it reminds me of my mom’s food and the festivities I used to enjoy as a child. At the end of the day it has something for the whole family to enjoy. I am sure you will go home with a yummy tummy and humming melodious songs. We will create the right ambience. You bring your family and friends with an empty stomach and a big wallet. I assure you that this event will remain in your heart forever. Moreover, you will have the satisfaction of being part of a great cause. See you at the Festival!

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