Every Onam is looking for Malayalees with flowers of hope. “Ponnin Chingam” is considered as the celebration of Malayalam New Year and agricultural festivals. Boundless joy and boundless celebration are the hallmarks of Onam. Onam celebrations, which start from Atham Nakshatra in the month of Chingam, are celebrated on Thiruvonam day and last till Chatayam day. Legend has it that the Athappookkalam was prepared to wake up Thrikkakarayappan. But last year and this year, Onam is all about limits and restrictions. It is essential to prevent contagious diseases. Therefore, the safest way to deal with loved ones is to stay away from them.
Athappookkalam is prepared in the backyard during the ten days from the last day of the month of Chingam to Thiruvonam. On the days of Atham, Chithira, and Chothi, only the stalks adorn the dung-waxed ground. In later days different types of flowers are used. On the first day, only one row of flowers is allowed. Do not put the red flowers. The size of the pookalam increases every day, with two types of flowers on the second day and three types of flowers on the third day. The Hibiscus flower has a place in the pookalam only from “chothi”. But in some places, the pookalam is prepared with ten colored flowers on the tenth day starting from one color flower. The pookalam is prepared in maximum size on the day of “Utradam”. The pookalam should be arranged in a square on the day of “moolam”.
The ceremony of buying new clothes (crore clothes) for children and adults on the occasion of Onam is seen all over Kerala. Ona Mundu is the name given to a small piece of cloth bought for children to wear. It is usually solitary on the handloom with the cassava. The Thrikkakara Temple welcomes Emperor Mahabali, who is very important in the Thiruvonam ceremonies. Legend has it that ‘Thrikkalkara’ originated in the sense of the land where Vamana’s footsteps landed. Thrikkakara is the only temple dedicated to Vamana in the ancient land of Kerala. In the southern parts of the Thrissur district, it is customary to prepare Thrikkakarayappan on Thiruvonadivasam. It will start on Utradam day in the Palakkad area. Thrikkakarayappan is prepared in the backyard or in the yard to welcome Mahabali. The kolam is drawn with Rice flour, and clay figures (Thrikkakkarayappan) are placed on top of it. Onakkazcha submission was a compulsory payment to be made by the tenant as per the agreement with the landlord. Bananas have long been the main attraction. The best bunch in the bunch was given as a sight to behold. The landlords had given Onakkodi, satchels, and sadya to the tenants on display. It continues to commemorate the good old days of the tenant-landlord relationship. But today the views are dedicated to the temples. The Guruvayoor Temple is famous for its “Kazhcha Kula” dedication.
The main attraction of Onam is the “Onasadya”. “Kalan“, “Olan“, and “Elisseri” are the main dishes at Onasadya. Avial and Sambar came later. The serving is also special. “Onasadya” is served on banana leaves. The leaf should be placed in such a way that the tongue of the leaf is on the left side. Upper left “upperi“, lower right “sharkara upperi”, left pappadam, right “kalan“, “loan“, “elisseri“, middle rice. In Central Travancore, lentil curry is first served. Sambar, first, kalan, raw yogurt is a must. Here, tapioca is also fried for Onam. Other dishes include sweet balls made of sesame seeds and rice.
Onam presents a lot of flowers and toys to Malayalam. These have been sung from time to time and are being passed down orally from generation to generation. Onam song is one of the legends of Onam. Malayalees still remember those songs. The uniqueness of Onam is that everyone gathers for the sake of caste and religion. But amidst the fear of Covid, the Malayalees celebrate Onam by reducing the celebrations inside the house. Though there is a slight lack of celebration, Onam has not faded in the minds of the Malayalees. Onam is in the minds of Malayalees everywhere in the world. The epidemic will be defeated in front of the minds of the Malayalees. Though there are no art competitions or flower competitions, the houses are filled with the joy and prosperity of Thiruvonam. Wishing everyone a prosperous, united, and happy Thiruvonam.