There might be festivals that are celebrated all over the country, and even festival that is celebrated all over the world. However, every state has its own festival that is celebrated bigger than any other festival like this! If we are talking about that festival for the state which can be actually called as God's own country, it has to be the celebration of Onam in Kerala!
Onam is celebrated with great pomp and show all across the state of Kerala. The entire state gets drenched in quite a festive mood and is quite a delight to visit the state of Kerala during the festival of Onam. It wouldn’t be a surprise that most of the Keralites who work in companies around the country don’t even take their leaves for religious occasions, but plan and take some time off their work during the month of September, coinciding with the occasion of Onam.
Just like how Tamil Nadu has its Pongal, Onam has its fair share of multi-day stretches, and it's not a thing of Wonder, because Onam is also a harvest festival for the state of Kerala. There are multiple occasions and multiple celebrations that make Onam very Holistic festival for the region of Kerala. In addition to a lot of ceremonies that happen around temples and churches, there are also occasions like Chenda Melam, traditional dance performances of Kathakali, boat racing, and a lot more of activities that are very very special to this festival season.
In all the Communism that Kerala stands for today, the occasion of Onam has a very special and legendary story. King Mahabali, who is the grandson of Bhakt Prahlad was very staunch Vishnu devotee. He defeated the Devas to rule today's land of Kerala. The Devas sought the help of Lord Vishnu, but he refused to help them as Mahabali was his devotee. He decided to test the faith of Mahabali by taking the Vamana avatar. Vishnu, astounded by the faith of King Mahabali, granted him a boon that he could visit the land that he ruled once every year for eternity. This time when King Mahabali visits Kerala is celebrated as the occasion of Onam. However, thanks to the communist principles of Kerala, even the Christians of the land celebrate the festival of Onam in the same intensity as Hindus!
The festival of Onam is multifaceted. There are a lot of mini celebrations that happen centered around Onam. The Onam festival features Grand procession of the king of question from the town of Tripunithura. Traditionally, the king used to set a very grand military procession in that region, but in the recent days, it has become a government-supported event.
One of the most artistic features of the festival of Onam is the arrangement of flowers fondly called as the pookalam. The pookalam not only features flowers but also lamps and a lot of other decorative items. There is a circle sense of competition when it comes to these floral arrangements. In fact, a lot of offices organize flower arrangement competitions as a part of the Onam celebrations.
Onam also features a lot of cultural aspects. There is a lot of music and dance that happens centered around Onam. One of the most famous dances is called the pulikali which literally translates to Tiger dance. There are also a lot of grand trumpet and drums that are played during the occasion of Onam. The drumming pattern is loud, intense and distinct, and is called the Chenda Melam.
In addition to all of these, there is also a boat festival called VallamKali where the long snake-boats participate in races on the rivers and backwaters of Kerala. The most famous one among all these features in the Pamba River, which is considered the Malayalee equivalent of River Ganges. If you’d like to know how committed the Keralites are to their traditional festival, a similar boat race happens at the Jurong Lake in Singapore.
The festival of Onam would not be complete without a mention of the Grandeur in food called the Onam Sadya. The Onam Sadya is an intimidating display of about 16 courses in a single meal which is spread out very enticingly on a banana leaf. The feast features chips, vegetable delicacies, rice, and desserts. The only thing is that there are about 3 different types of chips, about 12 different types of vegetable delicacies, and about 6 different types of sauces that go along with the rice. To enhance the already awesome feast, there are also pickles, buttermilk and coconut chutney that are served along with this feast.
In all this, we should not forget that Onam is, at the end of the day, or at the end of 10 days, is an Indian festival! No Indian festival would be complete without a flurry of crackers and Onam is not an exception to this golden rule. Onam is perhaps the second biggest festival in Kerala when it comes to the consumption of crackers. With the progressive state that Kerala is people have resorted to buying in the crackers online, and the bijili.in stand at the forefront when it comes to supplying quality crackers sourced right from their friendly neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. Make Onam more complete with the crackers from bijili.in.