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Why You Must Experience The Festival of Onam in Kerala!
A festival that has acquired a secular spirit over years, celebrations of Onam go beyond borders and across continents. From the traditional dance to cultural games as well as mouth-watering recipes, one must experience the festival of Onam in Kerala to get a real taste of the festival. Let's together find out why?
Onam is undoubtedly the greatest festival of Kerala. Its charm lies primarily in its secular spirit as it is celebrated by people of all caste, creed and culture. All ten days of the festival, starting from Atham nakshatram (star) until the Thiruvonam Nakshatram are filled with festivity. It wouldn't be wrong to say that the celebrations of the festival of Onam in Kerala are a reflection of the beliefs, customs and rituals of natives from Kerala. It is rest assured to experience fun filled activities like snake boat races, grand feast, pookalam designs, traditional dances and games along with deep rooted spiritual customs and rituals. The sight of men and woman waking up early morning all ten days, taking an early bath and offering prayers in temples, for all ten days speaks about their innate connection with beliefs that are so characteristic of Onam celebrations.
Onam is celebrated during the month of Chingam according to traditional Malayalam calendar. This is a month of harvest and so wouldn't be wrong to call Onam a harvest festival. Plan a trip to Kerala during Onam and see nature at its best; you should not miss the beautiful landscapes of Kerala all lush green and the sunny warm afternoons. The sight of content faces of farmers on seeing their bountiful harvest is an image that you just cannot get off your mind. Try talking to locals in Kerala and they will narrate tales of the kind hearted King Mahabali (King Maveli) who visited Kerala during Onam to bless people with prosperity and well being.
Womenfolk in Kerala make special arrangements to welcome Mahabali. They spend hours decorating the entrance door with flower carpets. You will see creativity at its best, with woman experimenting with different kinds of rangoli designs using a material for making those imprints and images.
We Indians have a unique connection with festivals, so no matter where you are, Onam means homecoming for anyone even remotely connected with Kerala. Both adults and children eagerly wait for celebrating the festival of Onam in Kerala as it's more like a carnival. Exchange of new clothes and goodies among family members, friends and relatives adds to the festive spirit. Watch out for traditional dance types like: Kaikottikali (which is also called Thiruvathirakali), Kummattikali, Puli kali, Thumbi Thullal and Kathakali, as they are unique in style and part of traditional cultural activity. Men in Kerala are also seen indulging in games of Onam like Kayyankali, Attakalam, Kutukutu, Ambeyyal and Talappanthukali, which help men display their physical stamina. There is something for everyone, so in case you like trying your hands in shooting, go for -Ambeyyal. If wrestling is your forte try Kayyankali and Attakalam which are combat games. For group indulgence, play Talappanthukali, which is a ball game or Kutukutu, a Kerala version of the game of Kabaddi. Another important thing to watch out is the Vallamkali race or the snake boat race, where you have around 150 oar men board single boats competing against each other. The ultimate purpose of these races and games is to help people understand the need of unity and harmony and create community spirit.
On the tenth day of the festival Onam, called Thiru Onam, grandmas cook lip smacking meals and offer it to Mahabali. The whole of Kerala indulges in grand feasting, which is called Sadya or Onam Sadya. Almost every household prepares the typical vegetarian dishes like sambar, avial, rasam, koottukari, pickles and many more, which is served on a banana leaf. Even hotels and temples become the part of festive celebration.
So, just in case you wish to experience the extravagance and joyous spirit of the festival of Onam in Kerala, book your tickets right away and experience the festive spirit of Kerala with equal joy and verve. What you take back with you is a great time spent together in true team spirit and brotherhood. Happy Onam..!!