- Posted September 30, 2013 by
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Onam - harvest festival of Kerala, India
Onam is the biggest Hindu festival celebrated by the people of Kerala, India. Onam Festival falls during the Malayalam month of Chingam (Aug - Sep) and marks the homecoming of legendary King Mahabali. Festival of Onam lasts for ten days and brings out the best of Kerala culture and tradition. The ten day Onam festival is considered to be flagged off with Atthachamayam (Royal Parade on Atham Day) in Tripunithura(a suburb of Cochin City). There will be a colourful parade and depicts all the elements of Kerala culture with more than 50 floats and 100 tableaux. Intricately decorated Pookalam, sumptuous Onasadya (Traditional lunch), The feast is served on plantain leaves and have more than 13 to 15 curries, along with traditional pickles, papadam and a dessert called 'payasam' (a sweet dish made of milk, sugar, jaggery and other traditional Indian savories). Normally, the number of curries and dishes may go up to 30. Breathtaking Snake Boat Race and exotic Kaikottikali (a dance form) dance are some of the most remarkable features of Onam - the harvest festival in Kerala. Since this festival last for 10 days continuous, all these 10 days are considered auspicious and celebrated with great joy and happiness. Decorating the house and making different floral carpets with the help of various kinds of flowers is a regular event these days. On the very first day of the Onam, People make the flower carpet called as the ‘Pookalam’. The most important part of this festival is called the Thiruvonam. Tumba poovu, a small variety of flower normally used to decorate the entrance of every house is white in color which depicts purity and it manifests the presence of all colors - the complete energy of light. On this day the Pookalam is designed in a massive manner with different colors and variety of flowers. On the other hand, people clean their house and wear new cloths during this day and indulge themselves in the worship of God. Normally Onam celebrations end by Thiruvonam on the 10th day. However two following days after Thiruvonam, are also celebrated as Third and Fourth Onam. The third Onam, called Avvittom marks the preparations for King Mahabali's ascension to heavens. In Alleppey, the Jawaharlal Nehru Boat race is being held during this time. The Puli-Kali also marks the end of traditional Onam celebrations. Men dressed as lions and tigers parade through the city of Trissur during this time in large numbers. Fourth Onam is called as Chatayam. Thus ends all the celebrations.