Onam Is A Secular Festival
Onam is a one-of-a-kind festival that’s celebrated by people from all communities irrespective of their religion or wealth. Everybody has the same amount of zest and eagerness across India. So don’t think twice about wishing anyone Happy Onam! Make merry with one and all.
The King Mahabali Legend
According to legends, the great Asura King Mahabali, who was beloved by his people and very kind to his subjects, visits his land once every year. That is the day Keralites celebrate with much pomp, not just in India, but across the world.
The Onam Sadhya
Everybody who knows Onam knows about the legendary Sadhya. The Onam Sadhya is perhaps the most sought after tradition where an elaborate spread of food is served for lunch in every household. The food is served on a traditional plantain leaf with over 25 varieties of food! Feel free to stuff yourself in celebration. Banana chips, papadam, rasam, buttermilk, kaalan, olan, avial, sambar, rice, dal, erisheri (we need to stop here, else we might just run out of space!).
The Traditional Mundu
Perhaps the most misinterpreted tradition is the wearing of the traditional mundu. It is commonly observed that people tend to call this form of dhoti as ‘lungi’ however lungis have a stark difference from mundus. Mundus are always white with a gold border and is worn on special occasions in a very formal fashion. Lungis are informal checked clothing wear mostly at home. A jubba (kurta) is worn on top with the mundu to complete the look.
The Onam Games
Traditional games are played in Kerala during the festival of Onam. Kayankali, Attakalam, Ambeyal, Talappanthukali and Kutukutu are some popular traditional games which are extremely physical in nature. This art is slightly lost in today’s urban setup but one can observe them in the interior parts of Kerala that still hold traditions close. Ambeyal is a game of shooting while Kutukutu is Kerala’s version of Kabbadi. You might not want to play that after a heavy sadhya.
Think you know decor? Think again. The traditional pookalam is perhaps one of the most creative decoration methods out there. Schools host pookalam design competitions where people decorate the front of their homes/buildings with creative floral arrangements and patterns.
The Traditional Dances
Thiruvathirakali, Kummattikali, Puli kali, Thumbi Thullal and Kathakali are some of the most beautiful spectacles of Onam. While Thiruvathirakali is performed solely by women around lamps, its counterpart Pulikali is performed only by men dressed as tigers. Each of these dances represent styles and techniques unique to Kerala. Keep an eye out, you might spot a street performance.
Now that you’re a little more Onam savvy, try your hand at fixing an Onam Sadhya setup in your own home. Pigeon has all the appliances you need to make every dish happen. As a goodbye gift to this article, here’s a recipe for a full-fledged sadhya.