Onam is the state festival of Kerala. It is celebrated with great enthusiasm and zest by the Malayalees all over the world. While Thiruvonam (the tenth day) is the most important day of the festival, the celebrations at some places continue until chatayam (twelfth day).
The festival is marked by elaborate rituals, feast, socializing, games and fairs. Umpteen varieties of dishes are prepared throughout the festival in every Malayalee home. ‘Onasadya’ or the traditional feast of Onam is an unavoidable part of the festival. It is organized by people irrespective of caste, creed and community barriers.
The grand feast of Onam is held in a methodical manner. The impressive spread of delicacies are served in banana leafs. The leaf has to be placed in a particular way and the dishes are also to be served in a defined pattern. The serving on the leaf begins from the left with ‘Upperies’ (deep-fried dishes).
Umpteen numbers of scrumptious dishes are served on this occasion. Different kinds of rice with a number of side dishes and other delicacies such as curries, ‘pappadams’ (round crisp flour cakes), ‘achaars’ (pickles) and ‘payasams’ or ‘pradhamans’ as desserts are served. Plantain fruits are also served as a part of the meal.
Each and every family member indulges in kitchen chores to prepare the Onasadya. The main chefs of Onasadya in most of the household are men and in other household where women are the main chefs. It is to be noted that even children indulges in helping their parents in preparing the Onasadya.