The diverse culture and customs attached to each celebration makes India special and unique. Kerala, needless to say, is the jewel of India, which is filled with a lot of legends and traditions, and unique celebrations too. Onam is more of a community festival as, the entire community comes together to celebrate it. 10 days of fun, food, and frolic:
Onam festival is celebrated in the Chingam month in the Kerala calendar, which corresponds to the month of September according to the Gregorian calendar. The ten days are:
This commemorates the homecoming of King Mahabali, who was born in the lineage of King Prahalada. He was sent to “Patal lok” by Lord Vishnu’s incarnation, Vamana, a dwarf Brahmin.
The floor is nicely decorated with the petals of differently colored flowers, which are a feast for the eyes. The entire family participates in preparing the Pookalam. Many places conduct Pookalam competitions to motivate the people and encourage them to actively participate in the dance.
- Music and Dance:
Traditional dance with the native drum “Chenda Melam” is performed on the occasion. Kaikottikali is performed by the women, decked in all their finery and dressed in kasavu saris. Other dance forms which are indigenous to the place like Onappottan and Kaazhchakkula.
- Traditional dress and Gifts:
White-colored, unstitched garment made of silk or cotton, with a zari or kasavu border is worn by men and women. Both men and women wear them during festivals and special occasions. Women pair it up with strings of flowers on their braided hair and a lot of jewels to complement their dress. This tradition has been carried on for years. It is a tradition to receive gifts and blessings from the elders.
There are various, traditional games conducted during Onam, like tug-of-war, boat race and various other singing and dancing competitions in which people can take part.
- Onam Sadya
Ona sadya or the traditional feast prepared for Onam features several delicious dishes including rice, dal, sambar, rasam, aviyal, thoran, pachadi, inji curry, papad, sweet and salty banana chips, pickle and Payasam (kheer). All together makes a complete platter.
Thus, Onam enjoys a special place among Indian festivals. It spreads cultural, religious and communal harmony among the people. Not just Keralites, people from other states living in Kerala also actively participate in this festival.