Southend’s Malayalee Association celebrated their harvest festival Onam with traditional passion and cheer.

Onam is the most prominent festival in South Indian state, Kerala. It is intended to welcome King Mahabali, whose spirit is believed to visit Kerala during the festival.

The day began making flower mats, called Pookalam, at the entrance of the venue to welcome King Mahabali, followed by the Kaokotti kali and Thumbi Thullal - dances performed by women during Onam.

The event took place at Sweyne Park School, Rayleigh.

Derek Jarvis, Southend’s mayor, lit the traditional lamp to inaugurate the event.

He said: “I am very impressed by the wonderful display of community spirit shown, particularly the young people in celebrating this important event.”

Vini Kunnath, Southend Malayalee Association president, said: “Onam is a celebration of love, brotherhood, peace and harmony.

“May the colours and lights of Onam fill your home with happiness and prosperity.”