Get set for a feast

Get set for a feast

colourful Pookalam is an integral part of Onam celebrations.

This year, September has been a month of festivities. One such festival that is celebrated with great fervour is Onam, a harvest of sorts which is celebrated in Kerala and by the Malayalees scattered across the country.

There are various legends associated with Onam, of how it came into being. But the festival seems to have gained immense popularity when Kerala had its golden era during the reign of King Mahabali. It is believed that King Mahabali visits during Onam and it is this visit that is celebrated with great fervour.

The rich heritage of Kerala comes out in its best form during the ten-day festival, right from atham till thiruonam and what’s evident through and through is the feeling of joy. And in a cosmopolitan city like Bangalore, which has people from across the country, there is a wonderful mix of cultures and activities.

Malayalees settled in Bangalore are planning to celebrate the festival in a traditional manner during the ten days while others have a slightly more non-traditional celebration lined up.

Metrolife takes a look.

The festival holds a lot of significance for the Malayalees settled in the City. Aiswarya Babu, a working professional, explains, “Throughout the ten days, there are preparations in progress for the main festival that happens on the Thiruonam. Everyday there is onakodi which is shopping for new clothes and everyone is busy preparing for the sadhya which is the grand meal. The entire house is decorated with flowers and a floral carpet called pookalam is laid out on Onam day. Throughout the day we have delicious dishes like parippu payasam, semiya payasam and banana erucherry.”

Sunisha Cherian, an IT Professional also has memories associated with the festival. She reminisces, “It has been very a special festival for me since childhood. The entire family helps in preparing sadhya which is served on banana leaves and people sit on a mat laid on the floor to have the meal. But even though my entire family isn’t here in Bangalore, we make it a point to get all relatives together for a family meal. Even my children are really excited about the festival.”

She adds that the festival is not limited to Malayalees, people from other States also celebrate this festival with them.

But there are many who rue that they do not get a holiday. Says Pravin Thaikattu, an architect, “It is a big festival for us. But we are not given a holiday for the festival.”

Many others raise the same concern. Anju Bobby Thomas, a marketing executive, says “We really miss home, especially during festivals like this. But this year, I have planned to invite all my friends and prepare a small meal to celebrate the festival.” She adds that since it falls on a Friday, a few of her colleagues plan to go to their hometown to celebrate the festival with relatives.

Whether the celebrations are big or small, this festival surely brings the community together.

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