The state of Kerala is abuzz with celebrations and gaiety, afterall the grand festival is right here. Yes, we are talking about Onam. Of all the events of God’s own country, Onam is one that witnesses the biggest of participation from everyone irrespective of age, caste or creed even though it is mostly associated with Malayalee Hindus.
A 10 day event, Onam falls in the month of Chingham as per the Malayalam calendar that is any time between the months of August and September. Onam 2015 will be celebrated on the 28th of August.
In order to see the best of Onam celebrations in Kerala, travellers can drop by at places like Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Kottayam and Thrissur. The much talked about Thrikkakara Temple near Ernakulam is a must visit for a person who wishes to see the hues and shades of the festival.
Legend has it that this celebration marks the end of the monsoon thus making it the annual harvest session alongwith the return of the ruler of the land, King Mahabali. The festivities go on for ten days and include a number of activities such as the boat race, performing arts and enjoying feasts.
The carnival majorly includes the decoration of homes with flower carpets locally known as pookalams and grand feasts referred to as Onamsadya which has much as 26 dishes served out. Some major activities to look forward to during the celebrations include the following:
- Thripunithura Athachamayam is the inauguration ceremony that kickstarts the celebrations comprising a parade that showcases different forms of art, dance and music of the state. Elephants that find a huge significance in the southern India are decorated and actively participate in the procession.
- The Boat Race is not just a local sport but also holds religious sentiment to it. It is conducted on a large scale and finds domestic as well as international spectators. Aranmula Boat Race is one remarkable boat race one should catch up on apart from ofcourse the Nehru Trophy Boat Race.
- Martial art in the form of Onathallu is held every year wherein the one at Thrissur finds maximum crowd. An activity including men as the participants, it is a test of skill and physical stamina among the locals.
- A number of folk dances such as Pulikali or the Tiger Dance, Kaikotikali, Thumbi Thullal and Onakalikal are performed by the locals all around the state. Women dress up elegantly in beautiful sarees with gajras and heavy jewellery and dance at a number of events during the celebrations.
And in the meanwhile, if you get a chance to explore the splendid land, do venture out to witness the sunrise and the sunsets at the beautiful beaches of Kerala, spoil yourself with a spa session and find some quiet moments by the backwaters. Welcome to God’s own country!