Onam Celebrations, Rituals, Customs & Traditions

Onam festival is celebrated in the best possible manner by all the Keralites (Malayalis). They make large scale elaborate preparations for this festivity. During the ten day long festival, Onam’s best form and spirit are brought out. The rich cultural heritage of Kerala too comes out in the realistic manner. The festival brings joy and happiness to the Keralites.

Onam celebration’s most impressive part is its grand feast that is locally known as Onasadya. It is prepared on Thiruonam day. In a nine course meal, it interestingly consists of nearly 11 to 13 essential dishes. People sit down on a mat laid on the floor in order to have the meal. On a banana leaf, the onasadya is served. A banana, a spoon of sugar and few pappad is served with a spoon of pure ghee. Then the main course is served and ended with different variety of Payasam.

On the river Pampa, Vallamkali or the Snake Boat Race is held. It is another enchanting feature of Onam celebration. The colorfully decorated boat is oared by hundreds of boatmen. It is a pleasant moment to hear the cheering by spectators and the chanting of songs by boatmen. It is a wonderful sight to see the long boats competitions with each other.

There are also many traditional play games or onakalikal. The men folks are engaged with rigorous sports such as Attakalam, Kayyankali, Kutukutu, Ambeyyal (Archery) and Talappanthukali (played with ball). The women folks are engaged with cultural activities such as Thumbi Thullal and Kaikotti kali. Folk performances such as Pulikali and Kummatti kali are other attraction of the day.

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