Dubai, As Keralites in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), marked a low-key celebration of their harvest festival Vishu on Tuesday amid the coronavirus pandemic, a community initiative will hand out the traditional vegetarian feast called 'sadhya' for free to 1,000 people in Dubai.
Kits carrying the free 'sadhya' can be taken away by those in need from the Uppum Mulakum restaurant in Karama from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m,, the owner of the eatery Shanavas Mohammed told Gulf News on Monday.
"Though it is a Hindu festival, we Malayalis celebrate Vishu, just like we celebrate Onam irrespective of our religion. During this difficult time, we don't want anyone to miss the Vishu 'sadhya'. Keralites or not, anyone who is in need can come and collect the kit."
He said the free meal was not just his individual initiative, adding that "it is a community initiative".
The restaurant has served more than 4,000 meals through the free lunch initiative it started during the sterilisation drive in Dubai, said Shanavas.
Sandhya Santhosh, a housewife in Dubai, said many Malayalis like her will be missing the 'Vishukkani', a spread of everything auspicious including the Konna flower that they see first thing on Vishu morning.
"Everyone is at home. But nobody is in a mood to celebrate," she told Gulf News.
However, Lulu Group said it has managed to procure some Konna flowers "to ensure the minimum availability in the market".
"These came along with most of the vegetables used in preparing the Kani and Vishu 'sadhya' and the banana leaves on which the feast is served. All these came on the six aircraft we chartered to import vegetables from Kerala in the past two days," V. Nandakumar, Chief Communications Officer, Lulu Group, told Gulf News.