Malayalees celebrate Onam throughout the world and the significant part of this festival is the floral decorations in front of the house, as a welcome feature they extend to Mahabali who is believed to visit them during this period of ten days. Onam being the harvesting period too, is rich with floral resource in the land, which the natives use for making their home, particularly the front yard, look beautiful and inviting with flower combinations, which are colorful as well as fragrant.
In vernacular, this is referred as ‘Pookkalam’ which literally means artwork or design works with flowers.
Mahabali the well-respected King who was benevolent to Humanity was given salvation by Lord Vishnu when he offered his own head to place His third step as part of sacrifice he had promised, visits Kerala during Onam season, when he is received by every household by flower decorations called ‘Pookkalam’ which is a tradition although the method of observing this tradition has undergone various changes, such as shifting from placing different flower varieties to assembling parts of a big flower to accommodate the design for better presentation and artwork, in order to make the Floral carpet more competitive and excelling others’ work, even using artificial colors, use of cow dung etc, which are not permitted in traditional decorations.
Onam being an important festival for Keralites, the entire community joins with admirable attention and sincerity to keep the living areas beautiful and well kept, while the front yard of every house hold looks pleasant and colorful, which will be awe inspiring to every visitor to Kerala or any part of the world where Malayalees live.