Onam/ Vaman Jayanti
| Legend |
|Onam is Celebrated in the month of August / September,
and is an important harvest festival of Kerala.
It celebrates the bounties of nature and a year of good harvest.
Ten days of feasting, boat races, song and dance are a part of the festivities.
Onam is celebrated in the memory of local demon king, Mahabali, who was granted permission to return once a year by Lord Vishnu when ousted from his kingdom because he was very attached to his country and subjects.
|The festivities begin ten days in advance and floral decorations (Pookkalam)
adorn every home.
On the eve of Thiruvonam, the second and most important day of Onam, Mahabali comes to bless his people.On this day, a symbolic welcome is made from the people of Kerala. Houses are cleaned and decorated with flowers and lights. The decorations are traditionally woven out of coconut leaves, coir and cane. The eldest member of each family distributes new clothes.
The image of Vamana is installed in every house, and after a morning spent visiting friends, it's time for the sumptuous feast.Served on green banana leaves, the customary meal includes
banana wafers, ginger chutney, koottu, avial, milk payasam and sweets made from jaggery.
|Caparisoned elephants in a spectacular procession, fireworks and
the Kathakali dances, are an integral part of the festivities.
In the evening girls perform the Kaikottikkali. After-dark the main roads and all the landmark buildings of Thiruvananthapuram blaze with illuminations, and there are music, dance and food festivals at every important venue in the city.
Similar events take place in other cities such as Kochi and Kozhikode.
The Vallamkali (boat race) is one of the main attractions of Onam, and is best seen at Aranmulai and Kottayam.
About a hundred oarsmen row huge and graceful odee (boats) with scarlet silk umbrellas. Their number denotes the affluence of the family owning the boat.
Gold coins and tassels hang from the umbrellas. Oars dip and flash to the rhythm of drums and cymbals in each boat. It is an annual ritual. The boat is rubbed down with a mixture of fish oil, coconut shell, and carbon mixed with egg.
The black mixture keeps the wood strong and the boat slips in water. Only men are allowed on board, and they must be barefoot.