Onam is the biggest festival of Keralities from God's own country. It's very much linked to Kerala culture. Have a look at this article to know how they celebrate the eve.
Thiruvonam, shortly called Onam is the biggest and grand festival of Malayalam speaking people across the world. This harvest festival that has been celebrated since centuries has been celebrated for several centuries and it’s deeply linked with Kerala and Kerala culture. Local flowers, boat races and traditional vegetarian food served on a banana leaf with so many varieties of dishes – everything forms an integral part of the occasion.
If we check across similar ‘Onam’ celebrations across the world, many cultures will have a floral festival and a good king associated with their folklore. For Keralites, it’s Mahabali who ruled Kerala centuries ago. As per myth, he was pushed down to hell by Vamana, incarnation of Lord Vishnu and granted his wish to visit his subjects once in every year on Thiruvonam day of Malayalam month Chingam. I need to tell you, Malayalis follow a Malayalam calendar (Kollavarsham) as well, and all their local festivals are based on this.
Also, they take into account birth star with which every celebration is associated.
As per Malayalam calendar, Chingam is the first month and so Thiruvonam is often considered as a New Year festival for Malayalis. But it’s not correct. Like every Indian, Vishu celebrated in the mid-April marks New Year Eve, according to the position of sun. For 10 days, Malayalis make pookkalam (decoration of flowers) at their doorstep, do several annual purchases, and it’s a time for family get-togethers too.
Most important is Ona sadya (Onam feast) served on Thiruvonam day, and it includes 9 or more side curries served on a plantain leaf along with rice, 4 or curries, 2 or more sweet payasams, banana and pappads and whole family members have it together to cheer the occasion. Nowadays Onam celebrations which include some sports as well, are organized well at residential associations, offices, schools and colleges too.
Onam and boat races – Boat races can never be excluded from the season. Soon after the heavy rains of Karkidakom month, sky is clear and lakes and rivers are filled with water and nature is filled with blossoms and joy in splendid. Pulikali (also known as Kaduvakali) and Kummattikali are the major events associated with the festival. Thumpithullal, Vadamvali, Onathallu and Sundarikk Pottukuthu are a few more observances associated with the eve. There are many local games associated with the eve, and as time passed by, many have faded from memory.
After the celebrations are gone, it’s a long wait for next year’s celebration. Wetlands will be filled with water, blossoms everywhere, children’s gatherings to make their pookkalam the best, a harvest season to get best agricultural products of the year and so one. This year Thiruvonam falls on September 4th and celebrations have already begun. And happy Onam to all in advance, on behave of Keralities from God’s own country.
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