7th biennial Sammilani of the Odia Community in Australia held at Wisemans

pallliWisemans: “My ecstasy knows no bound!! I am not sure whether such a community exists in any part of the world! So many fun loving people and so much fun. It’s now hard to leave this place….I am privileged to be a part of ORIOZ!!”…. Prabhat Das.”
These were the words of one of the participant who attended the 7th biennial Sammilani of the Odias in Australia held last weekend, 18-20 April 2014 at Wisemans Ferry, NSW.
Orioz Inc, the Association of Odias in Australia, organised this event. Team Sydney was the host. The organising team selected one of the most picturesque spot for this gathering, and they named it Swapna-palli, a name that justified totally.
The Odia Community of the state of New South Wales in Australia got the opportunity to host this biennial gathering again after a gap of 10 years. The meticulous execution of the event demonstrated the strength of a very cohesive Odia community with strong bonding between the members who support each other for their social and emotional wellbeing. “Palli-milana” was the theme, which emerged after a community consultation across Australia, aimed at recreating an ambience of a village back home, a cultural root that most of us Odias miss and would be able to relate to.
A record breaking crowd attended this event. Members of Orioz -the Odia Community in Australia from across Australia, from New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Australian Capital Territory and Queensland gathered together celebrating and reinforcing a strong sense of being part of a community as opposed to just being part of circles of friends.
The event was organised over three days and a typical village like atmosphere was created at “Swapna Palli” for the three days. It all started from 18th April, Friday afternoon with a warm meet and greet session and registration. On Friday evening all let their inner child out at bonfire and later on the dance floor to celebrate the “Rangabati night”. The mesmerising Saturday morning, 7am on the valley started with a typical chaha bala (tea hawker) voice, “garam chaha.. garam chaha…”, people enjoying the warmth of the morning sun on a dew filled sakala (morning) gathered under a tree to have freshly made odia style tea; people who were on bed were served bed tea. It followed with a formal reception at 8:30am where all attendees were presented a specially designed (Odia and Aboriginal theme) and handcrafted silk sambalpuri scarf from Odisha. The rest of Saturday was a treat of cultural entertainment programs, starting from Odissi, Sambalpuri dance, geetinatya, pallaa, drama, dance, songs and even self-made odia short film. It was a platform for all, the little ones who needed that initial break to develop the courage to perform and also for those entertainers with professional standards who are considered as asset to the community.
On Sunday the chaha bala (tea hawker) was greeted by the palli basee (villagers) at their door steps and so began an exciting day of outdoor game such as, nauka bihar (kayaking), Pittu (game of basket), and followed by phagu milana (holi).
The organisers had taken all the care to match the food to the theme of the event (Palli Milana); all were serviced with some typical Odia delights such as; machha besara, dalama, alu baigana tarkari, chhena poda, chhena jhili, jhal mudhi, badi chura, sukhua besara, pakhal and panna apart from other Indian cuisines. There were three cooks at the venue for all three days to treat all and they did not disappoint.
President of Orioz Shri Rajendra Padhee commended the organising team for a job very well done and stressed that the Sydney Team should be proud of their effort; Palli Milana has achieved three visible outcomes. Firstly, the young generation growing up in a bi-cultural environment were extensively given opportunity to immerse and actively engage in the activities assuring them of their access to their cultural roots. Secondly, the visiting parents of the members present at the event were assured of the social and emotional wellbeing of their children who call Australia home. And lastly, open and honest appreciations for each other by the members and a positive energy that was electrifying and difficult to measure.
The next biennial gathering, Sammilani, of the Odias in Australia will be held in 2016, over the Easter break, in Queensland, the sun-shine state of Australia.
More about Orioz Inc, the association of Odias in Australia can be found at www.orioz.org.au

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