THE Indian community in Colchester celebrated Christmas and New Year with a special event.

Members of the Colchester Malaylee Community came together on Saturday night for a celebration at Nayland Village Hall. 

The evening including a nativity performance, a woman who played the saxophone, Bollywood dancers and a skit outlining the dangers of deforestation.

One of the main attractions was a recreation of the epic poem ‘Chilappathikaram’, believed to have been written in 5th Century CE, in the form of a dance drama.

The performance was written and directed by Sumesh Aravindakshan, who said the themes still have social relevance in today’s world.

He added: “I knew that we were hiring an LED screen, so I wrote the script to capitalise on that. “People were saying it was like watching a movie, some said they felt like crying.

“There were themes of women empowerment, innocent people dying - that was the crux of that story.

“People were saying to go to the theatres and play it as a drama there, translate it to English, so it would reach the wider population.

“All Indians won’t understand our language - in India, we communicate in English across the different states.

“For people in other states and outside India, it would resonate well in English.

“It was not done in English, it was done in Malaylam. We want to do something like that now.”

The Colchester Malaylee Community works to improve the lives of Keralites  - people originally from Kerala - who now live in Colchester.

It is part of the Union of UK Malayalee Associations which, each year stages competitions to get more children into performing.

In 2023, Colchester youngsters were awarded prizes at a national level.

Saturday’s celebratory event in Colchester honoured those who had won prizes.