'Pookkalam', 'sadya', mark Onam festivities

'Pookkalam', 'sadya', mark Onam festivities

Kerala celebrated Thiruvonam on Sunday with trademark fervour with the festival rush most evident in temples and cultural events organised by the government in different parts of the state.

Despite Thiruvonam — the biggest day in the 10-day festival season — falling on a Sunday, the state has been on an extended holiday mode with the shopping rush peaking on Saturday.

The festival was celebrated with traditional pookkalams (floral designs, an Onam staple) and the multi-dish sadya (the festival feast) across the state. Roads sported a deserted look in major cities till noon with many families choosing to stay glued to the television as channels beamed a variety of Onam-related shows and recent blockbuster movies through the day.

Temples in Thiruvananthapuram had hundreds of devotees coming in during the early hours on Sunday. “It’s a busy day; there’s a big family feast to be served and there are friends joining in as well. But the temple visit is something that I start the day with, every Onam,” Ashalata, an employee at a private travel agency here, said. 

Major temples in the state including the Sree Krishna temples in Guruvayur and Aranmula had thousands of devotees teeming in through the day. 

The harvest festival was celebrated with many families hosting friends and relatives for lunch. People also queued up for the packed sadya at hotels in the cities. Stephen, a hotel manager in Thiruvananthapuram, said the business was brisk like in previous years. 

With most of the hotels downing shutters on Sunday, the sadya offer at select hotels also came in as respite for people with last-lap travel plans. Jitin Mohan, a Kollam-based businessman, said he had to go for a hotel sadya because of an unplanned trip to the capital city.  For the thousands of migrant workers from other states, this was a festival season hard to let pass. 

“This is my third Onam here and for the first time, our group of migrant workers decided to cook our own version of the feast. A Malayali colleague chipped in with his inputs,” Bipul, a migrant labourer, said. Cultural events organised by the state tourism department as part of the festival hosted thousands on Sunday. The venues sported a carnival bustle, also attracting hordes of international tourists. 

Theatres screening at least five Onam releases featuring all the leading actors in Malayalam cinema also witnessed a huge rush for the evening shows. 

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