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The traditions that bind us together….

“Down the mountain the river flows And it brings refreshing wherever it goes Through the valleys and over the fields The river is rushing and the river is here” ©

Every year, as the hot summer days make way for the cool breezes and orange hues of fall, the members of SGMOSC, Raleigh come together for an event that has now emerged as one of the ingredients of the secret sauce that holds our church family together.

What started as a brainchild of one of our church members a few years ago has now grown into an event of mammoth proportions. My mind wanders back to the year when it all started. It is amazing when one recollects how it all came to be….with months of planning, hours of labor and a dedicated team, a surprising theme emerged right before our eyes. A theme that multiplied and grew until it became what it is today- a rangoli of colors, music and dance, an array of delicious dishes, sweet aromas that fill the air, teasing our senses and leading us down a nostalgic path.

As smoothly as the river flows down the mountain, our Harvest Festival blends in traditions of the past with hope for the new, ever-changing world. At this amazing event, we showcase a wide variety of traditional Kerala foods such as Meen Pollichathu, Tapioca with fish curry, Beef Ulathiyath, Vada, Idly Sambar and then blend in delicacies such as the chicken kathi roll, Rainbow Puttu, Bhel Puri, Chats and faloodas. Colorful stalls display favorites for the younger generations such as bangles, necklaces and hairclips. Our talented artists also offer henna tattoos and face painting. Our Harvest festival is definitely incomplete without its “Nrutha Malhar”, where rhythm and beats come together to provide a splendid visual treat. As you can see, different flavors complement our harvest festival just like the colors of a rainbow.

Every year, we add a new chapter filled with memories to the story book of our life. We hope that one day our children will look back upon these years and pull out story fragments tucked away in their minds. We also hope that these story fragments will make them smile and remind them of good food and great times with loved ones.

One thing we can say for sure is that this event definitely brings us together and makes us resilient, happier and healthier as a community. It has taught us to appreciate the blessings in life, expand our horizons, to renew our relationships and to create a memory book for our children, amplifying some memories while letting go of others.

Our Harvest Festival has now grown into a tradition that binds us to our roots and keeps us together.

©- The River is here by Andy Park. 1994 Mercy/Vineyard Publishing

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