Thursday, August 10, 2006

Onam ---- Festival Of Kerala

Onam is one of the biggest and most important festivals of Kerala. Festivities of Onam continue for ten long days. Of all these days the most important ones are the first day, Atham and the tenth day, Thiry Onam.

All the religious and traditional people of Kerala sincerely follow the customs and traditions set by their ancestors. People wear new clothes on this day and indulge themselves in dances and sports. The children and the youth join in the entertainment of the season and set about collecting flowers early in the morning to decorate the yards of their houses for the next ten days until the festival ends. The major highlight of this festival is “pookalam” the flower carpet and there are specifications of the type of flowers to be used on each day of the festival. But in today's times the artistic and skilful decorations of the traditional “pookalam” has been lost in darkness.

On the day of Utradam, ninth day since the beginning of the festival, houses are well cleaned and decorated and gala feasts are also arranged. Then the images of deities made up of sticky clay painted red are placed there. They are known as “Trikkakara Appan”. These images are adorned with the lines tastefully drawn from the rice flour mixed with water and then they are worshipped.

The next day, that is the tenth day and the main day of Onam, new clothes are given as presents followed by a grand feast. On the ninth day, tenants of the family, dependents and hangers on present the food of their hard work, such as vegetables and coconut oil to “Karanavar”, the eldest member of the Tarawad in a ritual called “Onakazhcha”. In return they are treated with an extravagant feast on the main day of Onam.

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