Onam today

via Courtesy: Kerala Online & Daily Pioneer published on September 2, 2009

Kerala Online

Keralities today celebrated ‘Thiruvonam’, the harvest festival, with traditional gaiety and religious fervour.

People started their day by visiting nearby temples.

Heavy rush of devotees was reported from major temples including Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala, Sree Krishna temple at Guruvayur and Sree Padmanabha Temple here.

Boat races and various cultural programmes organised by different organisations were also held as part of the celebrations.

Incessant rain from wee hours, however, dampened the spirit of festivity in some parts of the state.

Daily Pioneer

The Malayalees the world over will celebrate Onam, the festival of prosperity, on Wednesday in the memory of the legend called demon king Mahabali, during whose reign the people of Kerala, presently mired in goonda games, murder cases, large-scale and extensive burglaries, corruption controversies, etc, lived in peace and in a society where there were no lies, thefts or betrayal.

Though the Keralites had begun their preparations for their biggest annual festival ten days ago with Atham ten days ago on August 23, Tuesday saw heavy rush at markets all over the State. People shopping for essential commodities and new clothes filled all kinds of sales centres right from the luxury shopping malls to Government’s temporary outlets which sold things at subsidized prices to village shops.

That Tuesday was a cloudy day almost all over the State did not dampen the spirit of the Malayalees filling the market places to buy things to make the biggest festival great. Prices of all essential commodities remained at unprecedented high levels but that did not hold the Malayalees from coming out to buy things.

“Prices are high and people like me will have to do extra work for the next couple of months to get out of the burden of expenses for Onam. But we cannot forget Onam just because prices are high. We are Malayalees who still believe in the old saying that one should celebrate Onam even if we have to sell our residential plots for that,” said Sivaraman Nair, a headload worker at the Sakthan Thampuran Market, Thrissur.

All textile shops, groceries, vegetable markets in the cities and towns of the State remained overcrowded with people shopping for things along with their families. Cities like Thrissur, Thiruvananthapruam, Ernakulam and Kozhikode saw employees at luxury clothing shops struggling to control the shoppers. Even jewelry shops looked overcrowded despite the high level of gold price. The sales at white goods shops across the shops also showed huge increase in comparison to the previous Onam seasons.

At the end of the ten-day preparations for receiving the demon King who would visit his people on the Thiruvonam day (Wednesday), Hindu homes in Kerala began their Onam celebrations on Tuesday evening with the installation of the idols of Maveli, made out of clay (ready-made wooden and plastic Mavelis are available in the market). The clay Mavelis would remain at the homes, fed ritually two times a day, for four days and would be removed on the morning of the fifth day.

The Malayalees had been waiting for the big day for the past ten days by making floral patterns on their front courtyards, symbolizing the arrival of times of prosperity. This also reminded the agrarian times when Onam was so closely linked with the harvest of Chingam. “The Malayalees are not the farmers they were once, but the passion and habits do not go away. They cannot live without their roots, in geography, history and beliefs,” said Rajagopala Pillai, an economics lecturer as he was shopping with his family at Kochi.

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