These are the 5 things to do this ‘Onam’

Its Onam again and time for celebrations. With festivities spread over 10-days, there is lots happening during Onam time. Though it may not be feasible for you to attend each event associated with the harvest festival of Kerala, we list five things for you to do this Onam.

Make Athapoos

Also called athapookkalam and onapookkalam, athapoo is floral arrangement found in front of every house in Kerala during Onam festival. It used to be a simple affair with common flowers being used for the floral decorations but with Athappoo competitions becoming a common feature during Onam, complex designs and exotic flowers have found place.
Tuck up your mundu and let your creative impulses flow to make that perfect athapoo.

Be a Malayali

Chuck those salwar-kameez or the T-shirt and jeans and adopt the Malayali’s (people who hail from Kerala are Malayalis and not Keralans or Keralites) traditional dress—the mundu and jubba for males and mundu and neriyathu for females.

The mundu (dhotis for the uninitiated) are woven out of pure cotton and have zari borders which are a pleasure to the eyes and comfortable to wear. Women, as usual, are spoilt for choice. The handloom textiles with zari borders and elaborate pallus woven out of gold threads; help you get into the Onam festive spirit.
Participate in a boat race

What is Onam without being part of the Snake Boat races? Snake boats or Chundan Vallams have become synonymous with the festival. Women will have to take the backseat here and allow men to have all the fun and action. The sight of the Snake Boats gliding on the waters is a majestic sight but it takes tremendous effort and strengths to row the massive boats. And the best place to see Aranmula Utthiritathi Vallamkali.

You need to practice your vocal chords too while you are on the Chundan Vallams. Vanchi Pattu is a genre of songs sung while rowing the boats. Join the fun, be part of the chorus and pray to the almighty for victory in the race.

Experience Kerala’s rich culture

Kerala has a rich heritage of art and culture. While many like Kathakali and Mohiniattam are very popular, there are several lesser known ones some of which are performed only during Onam.

Pulikali and Kummati Kali are two art forms peculiar to Kerala and seen only during Onam. Click on the link to read more about Pulikali. While Pulikali is performed mainly by men and is a display of brawn, Thiruvathira Kali is performed by women.

Generally performed during Thiruvathira festival, it is also performed on Onam. Women dance to the accompaniment of songs telling tales of lovesick Parvati and her longing for Lord Shiva’s affection.

The most important activity of Onam is the grand Ona-sadhya. Served on plantain leaves, the feat has 13 to 15 curries apart from other regular items. According to Kerala folklore, it is a must for Malayalis to organize grand feasts even if it meant selling properties.
Sadhya is usually served for lunch. Preparations for the sadhya begin the night before as no work is done on Onam day.




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