Malayalees celebrates Thiruvonam today

via www.dailypioneer.com published on September 4, 2006




































Finally the year-long wait for the Malayalees world over ends. Onam, the biggest festival of Kerala, is here. But, there is a lot more to Onam than being just a festival. Onam reflects the faith of the people of Kerala; a belief in their legendary past, religion and power of worship. It shows the high spirit of the people who go out of the way to celebrate the festival in the prescribed manner and a grand fashion.

Onam is also a harvest festival. It is celebrated at a time when everything appears so nice and good. The beautiful landscape of Kerala can be seen in its full radiance at this time of the Malayalam New Year.

Weather, it seems, also seeks to be a part of the festival. It contributes by becoming pleasantly warm and sunny. Fields look brilliant with a bountiful harvest. Farmers feel on top of the world as they watch the result of their hard labour with pride.

Children eagerly wait for the arrival of the carnival. It is time for them to get new clothes, toys and everything else they asked for or thought of. Numerous uncles, aunts and grandmas grace their wishes with delight. It is also a time for homecoming for people staying away from the families. Their arrival multiples the joy of the festival several folds.

Onam awaits one very special visitor, Kerala’s most loved legendary King Maveli. He is the King who once gave the people a golden era in Kerala. The King is so much attached to his kingdom that it is believed that he comes annually from the nether world to see his people living happily. It is in honour of King Mahabali, affectionately called Onathappan, that Onam is celebrated.

Womenfolk make special arrangements to welcome Onathappan. Flower carpets are laid in the front courtyards with dedication and full sincerity. A grand meal is prepared on the day of Thiru Onam. It is on this day that Maveli’s spirit visits Kerala. Lip smacking meal consists of best of Kerala cuisine including avial, sambhar, rasam, parippu and the payasam.

One of the most marvellous facets of Onam is the unfolding of its rich and well-established culture. We see not just glimpses but a whole gamut of it in the ten-day-long carnival. Pulikali, Kaikottikali, Kummattikali, Kathakali, Thumbi Thullal besides several other folk arts and traditions can be seen on one platform called Onam.

The beauty of the festival lies in it’s secular fabric. People of all religions, castes and communities celebrate the festival with equal joy and verve. Onam also helps to create an atmosphere of peace and brotherhood by way of various team sports organised on the day.

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