Joined: 17 August 2011
What is Onam?
Onam is the biggest festival of Kerala.
But,there is a lot more to Onam than being just a festival. Onam reflects the faith of the people of KERALA. A belief in their legendary past, religion and power of worship. It shows the high spirit of the people who go out of the way to celebrate the festival in the prescribed manner and a grand fashion.
Best of Season and Weather
Onam is also a harvest festival. It is celebrated at a time when everything appears so nice and good. The beautiful landscape of Kerala can be seen in its full radiance at this time of the Malayalam New Year. Fields look brilliant with a bountiful harvest. Farmers feel on top of the world as they watch the result of their hard labour with pride.
Children's Joy and Homecoming
Children eagerly wait for the arrival of the carnival. Why shouldn't they. It is time for them to get new clothes, toys and everything else they asked for or thought of. Numerous uncles, aunts and grandmas grace their wishes with delight. It is also a time for homecoming for people staying away from the families. Their arrival multiples the joy of the festival several folds.
Welcoming a Very Special Visitor
Onam awaits one very special visitor, Kerala's most loved legendary King Maveli. He is the King who once gave the people a golden era in Kerala. The King is so much attached to his kingdom that it is believed that he comes annually from the nether world to see his people living happily. It is in honour of King Mahabali, affectionately called Onathappan, that Onam is celebrated.
One of the most marvelous facets of Onam is the unfolding of its rich and well-established culture. We see not just glimpses but a whole gamut of it in the ten-day-long carnival. Pulikali, Kaikottikali, Kummattikalli, Kathakali, Thumbi Thullal besides several other folk arts and traditions can be seen on one platform called Onam. Government of India has taken due notice of this vibrant and colorful festival. It promotes Onam internationally in a big way and celebrates 'Tourist Week' for Kerala during Onam celebrations. Thousands of domestic and foreign tourists visit Kerala to be a part of Onam.
Of Unity and Team Spirit
The beauty of the festival lies in it's secular fabric. People of all religions, castes and communities celebrate the festival with equal joy and verve. Onam also helps to create an atmosphere of peace and brotherhood by way of various team sports organised on the day.
Onam Festival is celebrated in the beginning of the first month of Malayalam Calendar (Kolla Varsham) called Chingam. This month corresponds to August-September in Gregorian Calendar.
When is Thiru Onam?
Onam carnival continues for ten days, starting from the day of Atham and culminating on Thiru Onam. Atham and Thiru Onam are the most important days for Onam festivities. The day of Atham is decided by the position of stars. Onam festival commences from lunar asterism (a cluster of stars smaller than a constellation) Atham (Hastha) that appears ten days before asterism Onam or Thiru Onam. Atham is regarded as auspicious and holy day by people of Kerala. Thiru Onam corresponds to the Shravan day in the month of August or September, hence it is also called Sravanotsavam.
This year..Thiru Onam is on August 29th.
Legends of Onam
Just as in the case of many other festivals of India, there are several interesting legends behind the origin of Onam.
This is the most popular legend
The beautiful state of Kerala was once ruled by an asura(demon) king Mahabali who was the grandson of Prahalad . The king was greatly loved and respected in his kingdom and was considered wise, judicious and extremely generous. Kerala witnessed a golden era during the reign of Mahabali and the people were extremely happy. His bravery and strength of character earned him the name Mahabali Chakravathy.
Though belonging to the asura(demon) dynasty, King Mahabali was a devout worshiper of Lord Vishnu. The Gods were threatened by the popularity of this asura king. They wanted to find a way to put an end to his reign and to reaffirm their own supremacy .Aditi , the mother of the Gods appealed to Lord Vishnu whom Mahabali worshipped, for help.
King Mahabali was famous for his generosity , Lord Vishnu disguised himself as a dwarf brahmin called Vamana. He approached king Mahabali just as he was finishing his morning prayers and begged for a piece of land. The generous king granted Vamana his wish and asked him how much land he wanted. Vamana asked for three paces of land. At once Shukracharya, the adviser to king Mahabali, sensed that the dwarf was no ordinary brahmin and warned the king. King Mahabali felt it is very unfit for a king to go back on his promise and asked the dwarf brahmin to chose his land.
As soon as the king granted the Brahmin his wish the brahmin increased himself to the size of cosmic proportions. With one step he covered the earth and with the other he covered the skies , next he asked the king for a place where he could keep his foot for the third pace. Knowing that the third step would destroy the earth, the great king with folded arms offered his head for the brahmin to place his foot. Lord Vishnu put his foot on King Mahabali's head and pushed him into patala(underworld). The king on seeing the brahmin's true identity asked for just one boon.
The king was so attached to his kingdom and its people that he requested that he be allowed to visit Kerala once a year.Greatly moved by the kind king's devotion for his people Lord Vishnu granted him the wish.
It is the day of visit of King Mahabali that is celebrated as Onam every year. It is a tribute to the great king's sacrifice .Elaborate preparations are made for the king's homecoming . The people of Kerala show in their celebrations how happy they are and also show how they wish their king well.
The Legend of Boat Palliodam
The story goes that several years ago some people were traveling in the boat called Palliodam when all of a sudden the boat got stuck in the bend in the river. The oarsmen tried to move it but were unsuccessful. The spiritual head, Bhattathiripad who was boarding the same boat Palliyodam, thought that it was a bad omen as the boat was laden with food. He came to river bank to seek help and saw a hut by a dim light that was glowing. He decided to visit the hut and ask for help.
When Bhattathiripad went close to the hut he saw a poor widow weeping and some
children sleeping besides her. The woman told Bhattathiripad that her children
slept off hungry and she has no food to feed them. Bhattathiripad was moved by
her pathetic state. He went to the boat Palliyodam and brought food for the
family. When the family became happy with the food, boat Palliodam could be
easily maneuvered to the main course of river again.
From then on began the tradition of feeding one poor person on the day of Onam.
The Legend of Vanishing Boy
It is said that once, about 10
kilometers up the river Pampa from Aranmulla, the head of the Katoor Mana, a
Nambudiri family, had a bath in the river. He said his prayers and waited to
feed a poor man to complete his ritual. He waited for long but nobody came.
Tired of waiting, the Brahmin closed his eyes and began to pray to Lord
Krishna. As soon he opened his eyes, he saw a small boy in tatters before him.
The devout Brahmin gave a bath to the boy, a set of clothes and a sumptuous
To the surprise of the Brahmin. the boy vanished as soon as he finished his meal. He looked for the boy and spotted him near Aranmulla Temple. But, the boy disappeared again.
The Brahmin came to the conclusion that he was no ordinary boy and was God himself. From then on the Brahmin brought food to Aranmulla Temple every year during Onam.
The Big Day - Thiru Onam
Kerala appears in its grandiose best on this day. Cultural extravaganza, music and feasts add colours of merriment and joy to the God's Own Country. There are celebrations all around the state and everybody takes active participation in them; Onam has assumed a secular character and is celebrated by people of all religions and communities.
People wake up as early as 4 am on the day of Onam. Day begins with cleaning of the house. In the earlier days, front courtyards were smeared with cow dungs. The custom is still followed in villages, where the houses are not cemented.
On the day of Thiruvonam conical figures in various forms are prepared from sticky clay and are painted red. These are decorated with a paste made of rice-flour and water and are placed in the front court yard and other important places in the house. Some of these clay figures are in the shape of cone and others represent figures of Gods. Those in the shape of a cone are called, 'Trikkakara Appan'. The tradition of making clay cones for Trikkara Appan has its roots in mythology, which says that festival originated at Trikkakara, a place 10 km from Cochin. Trikkara is also said to be the capital in the reign of legendary King Maveli.
Elaborate prayers ceremonies and poojas are also performed on this day. A senior member of the house plays the role of the priest and conducts the rituals. He wakes up early and prepares ata; Ata is prepared from rice flour and molasses for Nivedyam (offerings to God). Lamps are lit up in front of the idols and all members of the house join in for the ceremonies. Priest offers ata, flowers and water in the names of the God. As Onam is also a harvest festival people thank God for the bountiful harvest and pray for the blessings in the coming year. A peculiar custom is followed after this, wherein male members make loud and rhythmic shouts of joys. The tradition is called, 'Aarppu Vilikkukal'. This represents the beginning of Onam.
It is now the time for members of the house to dress up in their best attire and offer prayers in the local temple. Most people wear new clothes on the day. There is also a tradition of distributing new clothes on Onam. In Tharawads (traditional large family consisting of more than hundred people), Karanavar, the eldest member of the family, gives new clothes as gifts, called Onapudava, to all family members and servants. Other members of the family exchange gifts amongst each other.
The Big Feast - Onasadya
After completing the morning rituals, it is time for the family to get ready for the grand meal called Onasadya. The biggest and most prominent place in the house is selected to lay the meal which is traditionally served in a row on a mat laid on the floor.
The central place in the row is occupied by the eldest member of the family. In front of him is placed a lighted brass lamp at a distance. Towards the west of the lamp is placed a small plantain leaf on which the food is served. This is an offering made in the name of Lord Ganapathy.
Thereafter, the meal is served to all present. The elaborate meal consists of 11 to 13 strictly vegetarian dishes and is served on banana leaves. There is a fixed order of serving the meal and a set place to serve the various dishes on the leaf. A lot of preparation and hard work goes in making of the scrumptious Onasadya.
Time for Fun - Dances and Games
After the grand meal, it's time for people to indulge in recreational activities and enjoy the festival. Men of strength and vigour go in for rigorous sports while senior and sober members pass time by playing indoor games like chess and cards. There is a set of traditional games to be played on Onam which are collectively called, Onakalikal. It includes ball games, combats, archery and Kutukutu (Kerala version of Kabaddi).
Women go in for dancing activities as there are specific dances like Kaikottikali and Thumbi Thullal for the festival of Onam. Women performing the graceful clap dance called Kaikotti kali in their traditional gold bordered mundu and neriyathu presents a splendid sight. Besides, there is also a tradition of playing on a decorated swing hung from a high branch. Onappaattu - Onam Songs, are also sung on the occasion.
Celebrations and cultural programmes are held all across the state to mark the festival of Onam in which a large number of people participate'during third onam and fourth onam days.
Onasadhya or onamsadya (The Meals) is the most favorite and delicious part of the Onam festival. It is considered the most elaborate and grand meal prepared for any festival in the world. There will be 11 essential dishes for Onasadya. Number of dishes may go upto 13.
is to be consumed with hands and avoid spoon and fork to enjoy the real taste
of Kerala. Rice is the essential and major ingredient of Onam Sadya.
There is an old saying "'Kaanam Vittum Onam Unnanam" means "people should prepare Onam Sadya, even selling all there possessions".
Rich or the poor, everybody, prepares Onasadya in a grand fashion as people of Kerala are extremely devotional and passionate when it comes to Onasadya.
The food has to be served on a tender Banana leaf, laid with the end to the left hand side. The meal is traditionally served on a mat laid on the floor. A strict order of serving the dishes one after another is obeyed. Besides, there are clear directions as to what will be served in which part of the banana leaf.
The various dishes usually prepared for the grand feast are the following.
1.Kalan or PulisseriThis is prepared from buttermilk. Ingredients consist of sliced plantains called nenthra-kaya and yams or chena. These are boiled in water with salt and chillies. It is flavoured with ground coconut and mustard seeds spluttered in oil. Some even add cucumber cubes to Kalan.
This is either prepared from pumpkins/red beans or from yam and raw bananas cubes. The spices used in this include split green chillies, ground coconut, cumin seeds, turmeric and red chillies. Erissery is seasoned with mustard seeds spluttered in oil. This is a main stay for the occasion, though not very popular these days.
3.OlanOlan is prepared from sliced cucumber and brinjal. Sometimes pulse is also added. They are boiled in water with salt and no chillies. When properly boiled, some fresh coconut oil is poured. The dish is seasoned with flavour kariveppila (curry leaves).
This is an extremely popular recipe from South India and relished by the whole of India. It consists of dal and a variety of vegetables like brinjal, drum-sticks, pavakkai (bitter gourd), etc. All vegetables are first boiled in water with salt and chilies. Tamarind is also added to enhance the taste. Other spices like coriander, cumin seed etc. are fried in oil and powdered. Sambhar is flavoured with mustard seeds and asafoetida.
These are types of curry consisting chiefly of cucumber, mustard and sour butter milk or curds. In Kichchatim, young and tender cucumber is added. it can also be made of beetroot and curd.
10.RasamThis lip smacking recipe is prepared from tomatoes treated with tamarind juice. It is seasoned with bay leaves and mustard seeds spluttered in oil. Some people take rasam with rice. Rasam also helps in digestion.
11. Pickles (Achaar)These are prepared well in advance of Onasadhya. Pickles are chiefly made from mango, lemon, ginger, chillies and curry naranga.
. People believe that the spirit of their King Mahabali will make a visit on the occasion of Onam. Therefore people of Kerala consider it as auspicious to make Pookkalam, meaning flower carpet to welcome their beloved King.
Pookkalam is an intricate and colourful flower arrangement laid on the floor. This tradition of decorating Pookkalam is very popular in Kerala which is followed as a custom in every family during the ten day long Onam festival celebrations.
Onam Flower (pookalam contest) is one of the famous events in Onam.
Largest floral carpet, 'Snehapookalam', laid with 15 tones of flowers
Kozhikode :Marking a model for religious harmony and universal brotherhood, the biggest floral carpet 'Snehapookkalam' was laid with 15 tones of flowers. Fragrance filled the air at Swapna Nagari on Saturday as an army of 1,000 people, including 500 students, created the world's biggest 'Pookalam' (floral carpet), to get into the Guinness book of records. The design was selected from 15 entries and the one by C K Suresh, who won the design championship, was used.
Spread over a massive 17, 622 square feet, the carpet was made with creativity supported by 25 artists. The carpet had set a world record. The carpet was made with seven kinds of flowers representing 7 continents taking 2 hours and eight minutes.
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And one of the most important turning point was when Megha finally understood his motives when he recued her from Prateek's hands. Her remorse.turned into intanst trust as well, and from that moment he became her best and most trusted friend. after that his feelings for her became stonger and deeper… and the way he was smiling,hanging on to her words..that adoring expression on his face.. His love and adoration for her was so purely evident on his face…His love and adoration for her was so purely evident on his face Indu,seeing that while passing by in the car,remarked that after Rasmi,it was the first time she hd seen him laughing and happy like that. In that split second he also realized that before he concealed it and replied his mother in his usual nonchalant way. Probably he was afraid to explore it further.
And then came the next turning point..which ended in his confession to himself and to megha..Yes,The Rasmi track..
The accidental and unexpected meeting with Rasmi ,when he was least prepared for it left him tongue tied and confused. apparently they had not resolved matters between them before she left India. did not know how to react even when rasmi was talking to him in a most insulting way..He got the shock of his life when Megha stepped in and cooly anounced to Rasmi that she was Mrs.Batnagar..but during the next few days,the way Megha supported him,the way she answered rasmi's taunts and the way she protected him from her insults ….. his feelings increased for her by heaps and bounds ..which left hi overwhelmd..and he was trying to sort it out and understand what exactly was happening to him,while watching Megha on the terrace laughing with jiji..When guru came and asked him.bhaiya, eh kya ho raha hai,he replied.wahi mein bhi smachne ka koshish karraha hum.….The farm house scenes, the confession to himself that yes, he loved megha..all were part of that understanding.And he realizsed that he was no longer affected bu Rasmi, that Megha was his present and megha will be his future as well.[though the final closure came at Rasmi's engagement only]. But as he said, he was afraid to tell it to her because his fear of losing her and her friendship was much greater than his joy of possessing her.He knwew that it will not be easy for megha to accept his love…with so many restrictions binding her..he wanted them to be friends at least…But he was forced to confess because he cornerd him about going back to rasi..seconds after the confession,he realized that he was going to lose her friendship also and the trid to salvage it by taking back his confession..But still the damage was done…And more than that restrictions impsed by both the families also affected their friendship adversely.
And then came the Amar investigation, the Indore trip ,and finally clearing of amar's name.during which Mohan realized the extent of lov emegha must have had for Mar and he was aware of his imperfections for the first time..And he realizsed that no one could take Mar's place in Megha's life..And true to his nature, he did not want to also.he wanted to create his won place in her life without encroaching upon amar's place…When Megha tried to stop him from leaving the mohalla..he threw all caution to he wind and confessed his love for her again…admitting to himself and tio her that thi is his truth and he did not planto run away from it anymore…Then many incidents happened ..the writing of the Letter,the slap scene,the gun shot and the events preceding and succeeding that,and his proposal to her dangling the MS before her….her acceptance of Manav's proposal,her engagement to Manav,his attempts to find out about Manav's apparent shady past with the hope of putting a stop to megha .Manav marriage..
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Sometimes , director , writer r changed overnight..! They r told to direct , write for other show of same PH..!
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And it looks like a perfect gift for her...
He posted an open letter which shall shut several mouths..
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