Onathallu (Avittathallu): display of combat war by Nair communities

The Nair community of Pallassana Desham in the Chittur Thaluk in Palakkad district, Kerala celebrates Onathallu or Avittathallu as part and parcel of Onam festival. It is to be noted that Onathallu or Avittathallu is also celebrated in the rest of the Kerala region.

According to the Hindu religious scholars and historians, the Nair communities participated in large number in the Army of the Kolathiris. They participated in numerous wars and fought for the victory of their kingdom.

In order to commemorate the numerous wars they successfully led and victoriously fought, the Nairs of the region celebrate it through Onathallu or Avittathallu. The historically group constituted the Pallava Sena or the Pallava Army is referred as Pallassana in Kerala.By ages, the term became Pallassana or Pallasena.

Onathallu or Avittathallu is largely and grandly performed at the Vettakaruman Dewaswom temle premises by men of the Nair community. They do the enactment of warlike performance in a traditional manner. They do battle-like behavior, war cries and enacting physical combat in their performance.

Men pairing up for fight is the key component of the performance. They act under the supervision and guidance of the elders in the community. During the Avittam nakshatra of Onam, Onathallu or Avittathal is seen as a tradition or vazhivaadu by the men involved in this region.

In this event some minor hurt happens during the participation. Steps are taken to avoid major hurts in this enacted performance. The event is conducted as fun and merriment but not very serious.

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