Onam Pookalam is a floral carpet to welcome Mahabali

Making Pookkalam is a tradition followed by people of Kerala, during the ten days of the festival. This is done to welcome their benevolent legendary king – Mahabali, as he visits Kerala every year on Onam, to enquire about their wellbeing. Read on to know more about Onam Pookkalam.

What Is Pookkalam?

In Malayalam, the word ‘Poo’ means flower and ‘Kalam’ means artwork. Hence, Pookkalam is the artwork or design that is laid on floor. It is one of the main attractions of the festival. Pookkalam is laid on Attam, the first day of the ten-day carnival of Onam and continued for the following nine days of the festival.

During the festive season, you can see one Pookkalam laid on each household in Kerala, irrespective of the caste and religion. This is mainly because of the fact that Onam is the state festival of Kerala.

How Is Pookkalam Made?

Pookkalam is traditionally made using flowers. However, in the modern time, especially at Pookkalam competitions, people are allowed to make use of leaves and sepals (cut into small pieces) of the big flowers. Shredded coconut and artificial colors have become a part of the Pookkalam, though they are not permitted in most of the competitions.

Wet cow dung is smeared and flower petals are placed on it. People in Kerala, who have been making the floral carpet since a long time, would start laying the flowers by conceiving the design in mind. On the other hand, the amateurs would draw a sketch of the design and fill the outline with flowers.

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