Not many days are left, when the popular Onam festival will offer us the chance to be its part. The 10 days event is one of the major festivals in the South Indian State of Kerala and therefore commences a number of cultural programmes and adventure boat-race competitions.
Story of Onam History
Like the many events in India, Onam Pookalam is a remarkable harvest festival also carries interesting legends. Mythology says about the bygone eras of King Mahabali, who had presented Kerala its golden time. It is said that Almighty has transfered King beneath the surface of the earth and has granted to visit his place once in a year. Therefore, Onam celebration is believed to be the annual visit of Mahabali in Kerala. Apart from the mentioned saga, other legend of Boat Palliodam, Vanishing Boy etc are also popular in the society.
Rituals In Festival of Onam
The merriment in Onam indulges devotees with a number of rituals. The ninth day of the festival draws a grand feast, Onakazhcha, which focus on presenting cultivated products and Nair Tarawad(a handcrafted item) to Karanavar(the eldest member of the family)
Farmers residing in the northern(Malabar) part of Kerala follow the custom of Maveli Puja, which is performed on the ninth day(Uthradam) and tenth day(Thiruvonam) of Onam. Devotees, in this occasion, erect three small holy figurines, made of red sand and offer prayer early in the morning, following the same in the dusk. The make-shift figures are respected as King Mahabali, who is believed to visit each household performing Onam sadhya.
Onam Celebrations in Kerala
After completion of rituals, the festival unfolds a grand meal- Onasadya (special Onam recipes). A big prominent place is selected for the purpose sumptuous Onam food and Onam dishes are served in a row on a mat spread out on the floor. Interestingly, the central place in the row are made for the eldest member of the family. A lit-up brass lamp is placed at a distance in front of the group. The west side of the lamp focus towards a small plantain leaf on which the food is offered in the name of Lord Ganapathy. Following the system, the meal is served to one and all present in the occasion. Around 11 to 13 vegetarian dishes are prepared with great care and are served on banana leaves.
Things To Do And See During Onam
Onam announces a set of cultural Onam dances and traditional games, which are played exclusively on the very day of the festival. Onakalikal, which includes ball games, combats, archery and Kutukutu(Kabaddi) attracts not only the local troupes but also tourist, who desires to be a part of the festive time.
Dances like Kaikottikali and Thumbi Thullal are highly performed by women. They dress themselves in traditional gold bordered mundu and neriyathu (traditional Onam dress worn on the ocassion). Each of their dance step is a must-see one. Many enthusiast arrange a decorated swing hung, play in it and sing the traditional Onam songs.
The celebration further extends with enthusiasts participating in Snake Boat Race(Vallamkali) and other recreational activities like Kummatti Kali and Pulikali. The whole state lits up with the glow of fire crackers and the merriment tuns unlimited when the surrounding dazzle with display of fire works a prefect time to capture the beauty of this festival in your camera through lots of happy Onam pictures.