Onam PookkalamOnam is considered as the harvest festival of Kerala state. This is also the National festival of Kerala. Malayalees all over the world celebrate this festival irrespective of their caste & religion. It should be noted that this is the colorful festival of Malayalees. We all are familiar with the name Onam Pookkalam or the Floral Carpet which is considered as an important event of Onam celebrations. There are different styles of Onam Pookkalams ie they may be simple or complicate. This is an important tradition followed by the Kerala people during the 10 days of Onam festival. Do you know the 10 days of Onam festival? If not, check the below points. The 10 days of Onam festival are
1.First day: Attam
2.Second day: Chithira
3.Third day: Chodhi
4.Fourth day: Visakam
5.Fiifth day: Anizham
6.Sixth day: Thriketa
7.Seventh day: Moolam
8.Eighth day: Pooradam
9.Ninth day: Uthradam
10.Tenth day: Thiruvonam
The basic design of Pookkalam is made on the first day, which is the Attam. Usually the diameters of this Pookkalams are in the range of 4-5 meters. Actually it is a great sight to see this Pookkalams that are laid on the varendahs of each & every houses on the Onam occasions. Also note that this is mainly done to welcome King Mahabali, who is believed to visit Kerala during Onam. The term Pookkalam means artwork made by flowers. In the earlier days people used to collect the flowers using small pookuda (baskets) from the nearby gardens. But now they are able to purchase different flowers from the markets itself. It's an important sight to see children enjoying gathering of flowers & making different styles of pookkalams during the onam occasions.
Designs of Pookkalam & the flowers used for making Pookkalam
I have already mentioned about the simple & complicate designs of Pookkalam. Some of the common designs of Pookkalam include face of Kathakali, image of King Mahabali, peacock, parrot, festival, Kerala, geometrical designs, Mohiniyattom etc. Flowers are mainly used for making Pookkalams. But when Pookkalam competitions are held, leaves as well as sepals of big flowers are used by the participants. But shredded coconut & artificial colors are prohibited. Some persons may have the talent to make this Pookkalam by conceiving the design in their mind while others draw a sketch of the design & then fill it with flowers. Usually these Pookkalams are circular in shape. The important flowers used for making pookkalam are thechipoovu, thumba (Lucas aspera), kakka poovu, mukkutti (Little tree plant), shoe flower (chemparathy), konginipoo or aripoov, chethi, hanuman kireedom etc. Among the above mentioned flowers, thumba flower is having major importance in Pookkalams. Another important fact regarding this Pookkalam is that it is also known in another name which is the aththa poo. Nowadays there are Pookkalam competitions organized in different parts of the state by different societies during the Onam festivals. In colleges also pookkalam competitions are held during Onam festival. I know most people have enjoyed this during their college days. Prizes are also given to the winners of these competitions. It's important to note that majority of the people participate in this competition with great spirit.
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