Many colors of Onam celebrations from throughout Kerala


Chingam(August-September), the primary month of Malayalam calendar, brings in Onam, the 10-day competition. Starting with the Atham, it concludes on the tenth day, Thiruvonam. Whereas the pookkalams (floral carpets) and Onasadya (the grand feast) are integral to the competition, celebrations at residence range from area to area and even throughout the similar group.

Say it with flowers

In Central and North Kerala, pookkalams (floral carpets) are laid in circles on the bottom. Previous to that, the world earmarked for the pookkalam is plastered with cowdung. Nonetheless, in sure households flowers are organized on a raised and layered mattress of sand, resembling a pyramid. “On Atham, when Mahabali is believed to start out his journey to go to his former topics, yellow flowers are used,” says Manjusha Pisharody, a meals blogger and historical past buff from Palakkad. Namboothiri households round Kumaranelloor in Kottayam, use yellow flowers of pumpkin on that day, says Vijayasree Vasan, a homemaker. A leaf of tulsi (holy basil) and flowers of thumba (
Leucas aspera or Ceylon slitwort) flowers are positioned on the centre of the pookkalam. There’s additionally a observe to maintain a small ball of cow dung in the course of pookkalam with thumba and
mukutti (little weed plant) flowers and tulsi leaf on prime of it.

Arranging clay figures near the pookkalam

Arranging clay figures close to the pookkalam

As days move by, the variety of circles and styles of flowers enhance. On the seventh day, the pookkalam is made within the form of a sq.. “On the subsequent day, we organize a path of flowers, from the gate to the pookkalam. The most important pookkalam is on the penultimate day of Onam. There isn’t a floral carpet on the day of Thiruvonam,” she provides.

Says Suresh Ezhuvanthala, a instructor and folklore exponent from Cherpulassery in Palakkad district, “In my group [Ashari], we make pookkalams solely until the eighth day. After that we make three clay figures, that are known as ‘Poorada unnikal’.”

Deliver residence the deity

Onathappan, Thrikkakara Appan or Mathevar are pyramid-shaped figures fabricated from clay or sand and positioned close to the pookkalam, representing Vamana and Mahabali. It’s positioned close to the pookkalam from on the eighth and ninth day. Positioned on banana leaves or raised platforms, they’re adorned with rice flour paste and flowers. “We additionally preserve ‘muthiyamma’ and ‘mootharu’, clay figures representing an aged couple, together with fashions of conventional grinding stones comparable to
ammikkallu, aattukallu and
ural, and different kitchen implements together with cattle, plough and so on,” says Vijayasree.

In sure Namboothiri
illams (conventional properties of the group) of Palakkad and Malappuram, a number of Mathevars are made, beginning with 5 and going as much as 45 by Thiruvonam. “As new ones are made, previous ones are eliminated and organized in such a solution to point out that they’re going out of the home. It’s a sight to behold as they’re positioned in rows from the
nadumuttam (open courtyard) to the doorway of home. No pookkalams are laid at these households,” Suresh says.

Mathever arranged near Pookkalam

Mathever organized close to Pookkalam

Nonetheless, in some Namboothiri properties of Kondotti, Thenhipalam, and Nilambur in Malappuram, pookkalams are essential with the Mathevar saved on a banana leaf positioned in its centre. With one Mathevar being made on a regular basis, there shall be 10 of them by Thiruvonam. In the meantime, in components of Central Kerala, as a substitute of creating clay figures of Mahabali, the determine of the king is drawn on sand and it’s crammed ith slices of the thumba plant.

Mathevars are propitiated with pujas and choices, comparable to
Poovada (steamed rice patty), bananas (ripe or boiled) and
pappadam . However the idea of Mathevar is absent in many of the southern districts of Kerala.

Festivities proceed

The sixteenth day after Thiruvonam is noticed as Pathinaaram Makam. An enormous clay determine known as
Makathadiyan (
thadiyan means fats man), is made and a grand feast is ready. That is nonetheless adopted by many in Central in addition to in North Kerala. by many of the communities. “I’ve heard that flowers was once laid until Makam,” says Manjusha.

Play on

Women take part in ‘Pennukettykkali’ or ‘Pennirakkal’ at Nhangattiri in Palakkad

Ladies participate in ‘Pennukettykkali’ or ‘Pennirakkal’ at Nhangattiri in Palakkad

Regardless that many of the conventional video games related to Onam have disappeared, a number of of them proceed to be performed. At Nhangattiri in Palakkad, girls participate in video games comparable to ‘Pennukettykkali’ or ‘Pennirakkal’ and Kaikottikali. Thumbithullal, Chattipanthu kali, Erupanthu kali and Thalama are amongst different video games which might be performed. Onathallu, a battle with naked fingers, has two variations. In components of Thrissur, it’s a actual bodily battle, the place as at Pallassana in Palakkad, Onathallu or Avittathallu, is enactment of war-like scenes.

A number of Onam

Thiruvonam within the month of Karkkadakam, within the Malayalam calendar, is noticed as
Pilleronam , the Onam for youths (
piller means youngsters). A feast is ready with 4 curries — erissery, pulissery, olan and payasam. In some properties, pookkalams are laid from this present day onwards. Bhagavathy Onam is widely known with a sadya on Thiruvonam day of Kanni, the month that follows Chingam.

Kaikkottikkali at Nhangattiri in Palakkad

Kaikkottikkali at Nhangattiri in Palakkad

Dessert for the day

Namboothiri households even have the observe of getting ready particular dishes comparable to
modakam and
kozhukutta (dumplings with rice flour and jaggery)
aval nanachathu (candy rice flakes), banana wafers and
sharkkaravaratti on completely different days. Completely different payasams are ready from the fifth day onwards. Uthrattathi is the day when women who bought married off come residence. So the identical dishes as that of Thiruvonam day is unfold out on this present day, Vijayasree explains.

On track

Thuyiluranarthu Pattu at a house in Palakkad district

Thuyiluranarthu Pattu at a home in Palakkad district

In a number of areas of north Kerala, members of the Panan group, come residence within the wee hours of Thiruvonam and render
Thuyilunarthu pattu . “They sing and play the thudi (a percussion instrument) and the chenda. Their track is for the prosperity and happiness of the households, who, in flip reward them new garments, rice, cash, and meals. That is nonetheless practised in Kezhoor and close by areas in Palakkad,” says Suresh, who has documented the songs of the group.



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