Happy Onam to all of you!
We celebrate it aswell as we life so close to Kerala.
You may have read about it before in the last years as it is always a big event here!
In Kerala it is celebrated for ten days and this year it had its biggest festival day yesterday, on the 16th of September.
Onam is celebrated by Hindus as a harvest festival and to honor a mythical king called Mahabali, who according to the legends ruled Kerala during the golden ages of the state.
“When Maveli ruled the land, All the people were equal.
And people were joyful and merry;
They were all free from harm.
There was neither anxiety nor sickness,
Deaths of children were unheard of,
There were no lies,
There was neither theft nor deceit,
And no one was false in speech either.
Measures and weights were right;
No one cheated or wronged his neighbor.
When Maveli ruled the land,
All the people formed one casteless races”
(This is the translation of an Onam song about Mahabali)
It is believed that the king is so much attached to his kingdom that he comes annually from the underworld to see how they are living happily.
To welcome this king the people put beautiful flower-mandalas called Pookalam or Atham outside their houses and temples.
In Vidyodaya School we celebrated Onam on Friday by singing Onam songs
(all these songs are sung in Malayalam, the language of Kerala) and putting Athams on our school ground.
The kids of all age groups were divided up to put seven different Athams. In the days before the kids had collected all kinds of flowers and leaves which they were now cutting into pieces to have a big variety of colors. Everyone could be creative in inventing new styles.
During the short Onam-holidays the kids visit their families
and celebrate Onam together.
Gifts like new clothes or money are exchanged.
If you go to the Hindu temple during this days you will find monks playing big drums which are only used on festival days.
In many places you will find a parade moving through the town with people dressed like king Mahabeli and the Kerala- special Teyyattams. Teyyattams are actors of Kerala’s ritual theater. They are dressed in broad colourful costumes with crowns and masks and a lot of makeup. The make up let their faces look a little bit grotesque but it is part of an ancient tradition.
I hope this helps you to imagine how colorful and versatile the Onam festival is! We hope everyone had a happy Onam! Greetings from Gudalur!