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  • Category: General

    Onam - Festival of Kerala

    Onam is the state festival of Kerala. It is a harvest festival. The celebrations will be extended for ten days. Onam is celebrated in the month of chingam in malayalam calender. The celebrations of onam start on 'Atham', before ten days of 'thiruvonam'. This will be extended to two or three days after the 'thiruvonam' also.

    The ten days of the Onam celebration are as follows.
    1.Atham
    2.Chithira
    3.Chodhi
    4.Vishakam
    5.Anizham
    6.Thrikketta
    7.Moolam
    8.Pooradam
    9.Uthradam
    10.Thiruvonam

    Uthradam is considered as first onam and thiruvonam is considered as second onam. celebrations will be extended to third onam that is 'Avittam' and also to fourth onam that is 'Chathayam'.

    Myth behind Onam: Onam is celebrated as the visit of King Mahabali to the state of Kerala every year. King Mahabali who ruled Kerala was wise, judicious and extremely generous.Everybody was happy in the kingdom, there was no discrimination on the basis of caste or class. Rich and poor were equally treated. There was neither crime, nor corruption. People did not even lock their doors, as there were no thieves in that kingdom. There was no poverty, sorrow or disease in the reign of King Mahabali and everybody was happy and content. That was huge challenge for gods and it threatens thier supremacy. Lord Vishnu disguised as a poor brahmana named Vamana and gone to Mahabali to ask for some boons. Mahabali who is so generous told him to ask whatever he want. Vamana asked for three feet land. King agreed and then Vishnus leg extended and with his first step he covered the whole earth and with his second step he covered the sky. Then he asked where he can put his third step. The king understood that he is a lord and asked Vamana to put the feet on his head. Then he went to Pathala, nether world. Lord Vishnu gave him a boon that Mahabali can visit kerala once in a year. And that day is celebrated as thiruvonam to welcome Mahabali.

    Pookkalam: Pookkalam is the major attraction of onam festival. Pookkalam will be put on courtyard of houses. It will be started from the 'Atham' day and will be continued on ten days. Pookkalam will be in beatiful designs and 'Thrikkakara appan' model was made with clay and put on pookkalams.

    Onam Sadhya : 'Kaanam vittum Onam unnanam'. Sadhya is a important part of onam. This will be delicious vegetarian food. There will be so many items with rice. Aviyal, Thoran, Ishtu, Pappadam, Sambhar, Olan, Pulinchi, achar, Kichadi, upperi, kayanurukk, payasam, pradhaman etc are the items for the onam sadhya. This sadhya will be eating in a banana leaf.

    Celebrations : People used to gather in their own home with parents and family and have so many celebrations for onam. Thiruvathirakali, Kaikottikali will be the enjoyment for ladies and Men will be doing Kayyankali, Onathallu, Pulikkali etc.

    Onam is a celebration of remembrance. The celebrations are nowadays limited in front of television. The clubs and organizations are organizing some artificial onam. The celebrations and enjoyments are decreasing year by year. Onam is the passion of people of kerala and it should be maintained in a better way to maintain our harmony.
  • #7454
    Onam days are always nostalgic to true Malayalee. I do have old memories related to Onam days during my childhood days. My house then was in a true rural background. Collecting flowers from the open areas and preparing flower arrangements in different forms gave interesting times for us, children.
    Such other memories are there. Elders used to tell about the myths and history behind the Onam celebrations.
    I had posted an article on myths and history of Onam in 2001 August in this site.
    (http://www.spiderkerala.net/resources/7829-Onam-History-Mythology.aspx)

    T.M.Sankaran
    Gold Member, SPK

  • #7535
    Now Onam celebration has become purely a commercial extravaganza. Every manufactures starting from Motor vehicles to clothes are making use of this time to give maximum advertisements and attract everybody to Malls and buy their products. People on the other hand spend all their savings during this occasion and start taking loans from next month onwards.

    Thus the ignorance and desire of people to go for better living conditions, actually beyond their capacity to stick on to that level continuously. Most of them are getting trapped. Very often there is complaint that majority of the manufacturers and shop owners are trying to sell low quality articles during this festival season. As an example look at the quality of packeted milk.

    T.M.Sankaran
    Gold Member, SPK


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