The fields are shrouded with golden colour of ripen seeds dancing to the rhythm of villagers, singing merry in their glee.............
long snake like boats are ready to lacerate against the green water of the
lagoon and the women draped in the white sarees are dressing the 'rangoli'.
The army of half dressed men head for the incessant drum beating in the
field lined with caprisioned elephants. Onam is laden with the absolute
festive spirit that charges the atmosphere with the undying zing of colour
The whole of southern India engages in the call of celebration. It's Onam
or Thiruonam time. A festival of ten days, Onam is a harvest festival
celebrated in the South India, especially Kerala with lots of pomp and
gaiety. A spirit full effervescent festival, Onam is a all about peals of
laughter, dances, songs and sumptuous recipes and boat races.
It goes like this ......
Long ago there was a king called King Mahabali who ruled Kerala. The king
sacrificed his human pride and showed true devotion towards God 'Vishnu'.
Onam is an annual tribute and welcome to the king who stood as the testimony
to the right way of living life.
The Festive Specks
Onam brings with itself joy and glee that is showcased in the
celebration of the festival. A ten days festival, Onam commences on the
Atham day where the earthen mounds are decorated on dung plastered court
yard to evoke Mahabali and Vishnu. Beautiful women titivate their house
gates with "Onapookalam'-a flower carpet of gathered blossoms- to
welcome the subjugated erstwhile king. The flower carpet is then
complemented by a miniature festooned pandal hung over the flower
carpet. Varied traditional rituals are carried out followed up by grand
feasted called 'Sadhya'. Old and young are spotted making merry at the
lavish feast. A get together and act of merriment, the feast is served
with lip smacking home cooked delicacies and mouth watering desserts
called as 'payasam'.
The gaiety and delight of Onam in people are manifested in several
manifolds. Splendid parades of caparisoned elephants, fireworks and
famous Kathakali dances are some of the glimpses of the mesmerizing
festival. In addition, there are many more sports and cavalcade of
events during Onam which attracts people from far away lands to rala. No
wonder, the month of Onam every year is celebrated as tourism week in
The conspicuous boat race on the green backwaters during Onam is the
prime attraction of the festival. Known as 'Vallamkali' the spectacular
boat race entices everyone during the carnival. The sight of oarsmen
racing their bride like boats sporadically to the tune of drums and
cymbals is quiet enticing. The boats or 'Chundans' are named after the
named according the length of their hoods.
The boat race is not just about long snake hood boats but also
miniature boats or 'Odis' - wooden planks crafted with gold tasseled
silk umbrellas- that run against the force of the water just to stand as
the winner. People in thousands gather on the bank to cheer for their
show of muscle power and the mêlée of speed.
On the tenth day of the festival or 'Onam' or 'Thiruonam' the whole of
southern land is camouflaged with houses that look like brides. The
houses are cleaned and adorned with traditional lamps of beautiful
shapes and sizes. Sumptuous feast are prepared in all houses followed up
by presenting gifts and clothes to the family member and relatives. The
Onam evening is all the more beautiful and appeasing where girls perform
'Kaikottikkali' in the open court yard around the brass lamps. Also, the
kathakali performers are dressed up vibrantly enacting the tales and
lores of the village.
A grand festival and kaleidoscope colours hewn with culture and
traditionality Onam is a festival for all where it depicts the
uniformity and cheerfulness of everyone on and across the land....