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Onam: The Festival of Joy

04-09-2017 04:00 PM  
Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream      102

Onam: The Festival of Joy | My Indian Dream

Onam a rare festival that is celebrated by all people of the state irrespective of religion, caste or creed...

India- The land of festivals and celebration

That fills our heart with delight and exhilaration

Onam is the most popular and important festival of Kerala and it is celebrated with a lot of pomp and splendor. The best thing about Onam is that it is one rare festival that is celebrated by all people of the state irrespective of religion, caste or creed. Onam is a harvest festival. Onam also marks the commemoration of the homecoming of King Mahabali who has been the most popular and revered king of Kerala. It is in honour of this great, kind and generous king that Onam is celebrated.

 

The festival of Onam entails 10 days of celebrations with each day having its own importance in various rituals and traditions.

 

1. Atham:  The first day starts with Atham Day.It marks the festivities at Thrikkakara temple which is considered the focal centre of Onam. The festival flag is raised here on this day. A spectacular procession called Atthachamayam starts on this day and it includes elephant processions, folk art paintings, music and dancing.The traditional ritual of laying 'Pookalam' (floral rangoli) also starts on this day. The pookalam is initially small in size and its size grows progressively with each day of the Onam festival.

 

2. Chithira; On this day, people start cleaning the household to prepare for  Thiruvonum day.

 

3. Chodhi: On the third day of Onam people start shopping activities.Onam is associated with gifting new clothes, hence this day onwards people start buying new clothes and jewellery.

 

4. Vishakam: In the olden days , the markets opened their harvest sale on this day, making it one of the busiest days in the markets for public. Nowadays , Vishakam marks the start of many Onam related competitions such as Pookalam competition.

 

5. Anizham: The fifth day of Onam celebrations kicks off the great Vallamkali( snake boat race ) competition in many parts of Kerala.

 

6.Thriketa: By the sixth day, public frenzy starts building up. Most of the schools and public offices are granted holiday and people start packing their bags to go to their native homes to celebrate the festival with their dear ones.

 

7. Moolam; On this day, smaller version of the traditional Ona-Sadhya ( lunch feast )starts in many places. Festivities include Puli Kali ( masked leopard dance )  and traditional dance forms like Kaikotti Kali which are performed in various functions. 

 

8 : Pooradam: The eighth day of Onam  starts off with a major traditional ritual where the small statues of Mahabali and Vamana will be washed and cleaned and taken around  the house in a procession.

 

9: Uthradam : Uthradam is known as 'First Onam ' because it marks the day King Mahabali descends onto Kerala. The Uthradam lunch is generally grand. Preparations for the grand Thiruvonam feast also starts on the evening of Uthradam day.

 

10. Thiruvonum : Thiru-Onam (Sacred Onam Day ) is the culmination of the ten days of Onam carnival. People wake up early and prepare large pookalams to welcome King Mahabali. Women take to the kitchen to prepare Ona-Sadhya( grand lunch feast) .All members of the  family wear new clothes and enjoy the sumptuous lunch with friends and relatives .In the afternoon and evenings people play traditional Onam  games . Onam functions are held by resident associations in cities. 

 

Thus Onam the grand and secular festival brings happiness and cheer to all people of Kerala. The spirit of giving and the occasions of having meals together maintains the loving and healthy relationship among the people. May this wonderful feeling continue till the next Onam.

Happy Onam to all readers

 

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