Some Fascinating Facts About Onam Festival That Students Should Know
Onam is Kerala’s harvest festival and is extremely important to Keralites. The festival is usually celebrated in August/September and is observed by people all over India and the world. The harvest season of the standing crops marks the festival of Onam.
The celebration marks the start of the Malayalam calendar year, known as Kolla Varsham. People celebrate Onam with a variety of festivities such as the Vallam Kali (boat racing), Pullaki (tiger dances), and Pookkalam (flower Rangoli). Onam is a 10-day festival that occurs on the 22nd Nakshatra Thiruvonam in the Malayalam calendar month of Chingam, which coincides with August-September. This year, Onam began on August 12 and will end on August 23.
Here are some interesting facts about Onam that make this festival so unique.
- Onam is a harvest festival that is observed by people of all castes and religions and is a secular festivity.
- The celebration commemorates the return of the mythical King Mahabali, who is revered by Malayalees as their King. Every year, the king visits his subjects to see if they are happy.
- Vallam Kali, Pulikkali, Pookkalam, Onatthappan, Thumbi Thullal, Onavillu, Kazhchakkula, Athachamayam, and so on are among the few celebrations with such a varied range of traditional components.
- Kaikotti kali, or Thiruvathira kali, is a particular and traditional dance performed at the festival.
- Three small-sized statues made of red sand are placed on the verandahs of homes by families as part of the Maveli Puja performed during Onam.
- Onam, like Ganesh Chaturthi, is a ten-day celebration with the first and end days being the most important.
- The Onakkodi, or new clothing is worn on this day, and the Onam Sadya, or extravagant feast, are the most important aspects of Onam.
- This is usually a feast with rice and at least four different foods served on banana leaves.
- Pickles and papadam are also on the menu. Payasam, a sweet dish prepared with milk, sugar, and other traditional Indian flavours, is commonly served as dessert.
- People make pookkalam, a multi-colored floral display on the ground in front of their homes, during Onam.
- In front of temples, a palmyra tree is planted, surrounded by a wooden balustrade, and protected in dry palmyra leaves. It is lighted with fire and burned to ashes to symbolise Mahabali’s sacrifice to hell.
- The festival of Onam is incomplete without gifts. Silver coins, gold jewellery, clothing, household appliances, gadgets, and other items are among the most common gifts exchanged throughout these festivities.
Story first published: Saturday, August 21, 2021, 11:39 [IST]