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Sensational South




avivakirk IF-Sizzlerz

Joined: 25 October 2010
Posts: 11437

Posted: 26 August 2012 at 1:02pm | IP Logged
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Summer Rose Petal SideSummer Rose Petal SideHAPPY ONAM 2012Summer Rose Petal Side
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Edited by avivakirk - 29 August 2012 at 6:59am

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avivakirk IF-Sizzlerz

Joined: 25 October 2010
Posts: 11437

Posted: 26 August 2012 at 1:09pm | IP Logged


Wishing all of you a wonderful HAPPY ONAM.
I would like to share with you why Onam is celebrated by Malayalis throughout the world. 

Onam (Malayalam: ???) is a harvest festival celebrated in Kerala by all Keralites irrespective of their religion or caste. The festival commemorates the Vamana avatar of Vishnu and the subsequent homecoming of the legendary King Mahabali. It falls during the first Malayalam month of Chingam (AugustSeptember) and lasts for ten days starting on Atham and ending on Thiruvonam.[1] Hence, it can be considered as a New Year celebration.

The festival is marked by various festivities, including intricate flower carpets, elaborate banquet lunches, snake boat races, Onappottan, Kaazhchakkula in Guruvayoor, Puli Kali, and Kaikottikkali. These festivities make Onam a unique festival on the earth which is embellished by most number of cultural elements and it can be undoubtedly said that these elements constitute the colorfulness, diversity and richness that no other festival can claim. On Onam day people also conduct special prayers in Hindu temples.

Edited by avivakirk - 26 August 2012 at 1:26pm

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sahi. IF-Sizzlerz

Joined: 17 March 2011
Posts: 19350

Posted: 26 August 2012 at 1:28pm | IP Logged
Wish all my friends in SS a happy Onam. 

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avivakirk IF-Sizzlerz

Joined: 25 October 2010
Posts: 11437

Posted: 26 August 2012 at 2:10pm | IP Logged
High-spirited people of Kerala celebrate Onam with gaiety and fervor. The festival is celebrated for a period of ten days, starting from the first day Atham and continuing till tenth and the biggest day called Thiru Onam.

The spectacular festival attracts thousands of tourists from across the country and globe. Immense popularity of the festival is further promoted by the Government of India by celebrating Kerala Tourism Week during the time of Onam.

Beginning of the Celebrations
Celebrations of the first day are marked by intricate floral carpets called Pookalam. More flowers of different colours are added to this pookalam on each passing day. Girls take great delight in designing them in the front courtyards of their house. Boys take pleasure in helping them gather flowers. Special prayers are also said on Atham in a local temple. Hectic activities for the carnival begin in the state from this day onwards.

Celebrations on Thiru Onam
The biggest and the most happening day in the carnival of Onam is Thiruvonam. Festivities begin as early as 4 am. People clean up their house, take early bath, wear new clothes and perform elaborate prayers to seek divine blessings. A massive and most exquisite pookalam is prepared on this day to welcome the spirit of King Maveli.

Highpoint of the day is the enormous lunch called Onasadya. People of Kerala are extremely passionate about this. Even if they cannot easily afford, they will anyhow prepare the meal inclusive of all the 11-13 prescribed dishes. This has lead to the saying in Malayalam, "Kanam Vittu Onam Unnanam" which means, "We should have the Thiruonam lunch even if we have to sell all our properties".
Onam Celebrations
Activities, Events and Recreation
There are a lot of activities that takes place all over the state on Onam. Pulikali performers paint themselves in the guise of a tiger and enact hunting scenes to entertain people. Kummattikali artists don an attire of plaited grass and big wooden mask. They move from house to house collecting small gifts and amusing children.

At Thrissur, caparisoned elephants move out in a procession and present a regal view. While at Cheruthuruthy, Kathakali artists cast a spell on the audience with the magic of their performance. Women perform their graceful traditional clap dance, Kaikotikalli on the day and enthrall the audience. Vallamkali, the popular snake boat race is also organised in several parts of the state to mark the day.

Number of sports and games events are also organised on the day. These are collectively called Onakalikal. Some of them are rigorous sports like Talappanthukali, Kutukutu and combats like Kayyankali and Attakalam. Archery is also a part of Onakalikal. Senior members have their share of fun by playing indoor games like cards and chess. There is also a tradition of swinging on Onam. A decorated swing is swung on a high branch and young men and women take the pleasure on it while singing traditional songs.

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avivakirk IF-Sizzlerz

Joined: 25 October 2010
Posts: 11437

Posted: 26 August 2012 at 2:12pm | IP Logged
Onasadhya is the most delicious part of the grand festival called Onam. It is considered to be the most elaborate and grand meal prepared by any civilisation or cultures in the world. It's a feast which if enjoyed once is relished for years.

Onasadhya is prepared on the last day of Onam, called Thiruonam. People of Kerala wish to depict that they are happy and prosperous to their dear
King Mahabali whose spirit is said to visit Kerala at the time of Onam.

Legend goes that Mahabali who was so attached to his people that he requested Gods to allow him to visit Kerala every year. People of Kerala wish to convey that they are enjoying the same age of prosperity as was witnessed during the reign of King Mahabali by preparing a grand Onasadhya.

Rich and the poor, everybody prepares Onasadya in a grand fashion as people of Kerala are extremely devotional and passionate when it comes to Onasadya. So much so that, it has lead to saying, 'Kaanam Vittum Onam Unnanam'. Meaning - men go to the extend of selling all their possessions for one Onam Sathya.

The Meals
Rice is the essential ingredient of this Nine Course Strictly Vegetarian Meals. All together there are 11 essential dishes which have to prepared for Onasadya. Number of dishes may at times also go upto 13. Onasadya is so elaborate a meal that it is called meals, even though it is consumed in one sitting. Onasadya is consumed with hands, there is no concept of spoon or forks here.

Traditional Onam Sadya meal comprises of different varieties of curries, upperies - thigs fried in oil, pappadams which are round crisp flour paste cakes of peculiar make, uppilittathu - pickles of various kinds, chammanthi - the chutney, payasams and prathamans or puddings of various descriptions. Fruits and digestives are also part of the meal.

OnasadyaThe food has to be served on a tender Banana leaf, laid with the end to the left. The meal is traditionally served on a mat laid on the floor. A strict order of serving the dishes one after the another is obeyed. Besides, there are clear directions as to what will be served in which part of the banana leaf.

These days Onadaya has toned down a little due to the urban and hectic living style. Earlier, Onasaya used to be even more elaborate. There were about 64 mandatory dishes - eight varieties each of the eight dishes. At that time three banana leaves were served one under the other to accommodate all the dishes. How exactly they were accommodated in the a food for thought!

How is it Served
There is a distinct order of serving the the grand feast of Onam. Pappad or Pappadum is to be served on the extreme left. On top of the big pappadum banana is served. The banana can be 'Rasakadali', 'Poovan', 'Palayankodan'. From the right pappad - salt, banana wafers, sarkarapuratti fries are served. After this, ginger lime and mango pickles are served. Next comes 'vellarika', 'pavakka', beetroot and 'ullikitchadi'. 'Kitchadi' made of pineapple and banana splits or of grapes and apple is served along with this. On the right, 'cabbage thoran' is served. Then comes a thoran made of beans and avil followed by bread and green peas mix 'thoran'. The meal will be complete with the 'avial' and 'kootu curry'.

Rice is served when the guests seat themselves and just two big spoons is considered enough. After this 'parippu' and ghee is poured. Then comes Sambhar. Desserts are to begin with adaprathaman followed by 'Kadala Payasam'. This colourful arrangement on the lush green banana leaf makes the food look even more tempting and irresistible .

Hold on...Be a little need to wait a little before you start gorging the lip smacking meal. There are some rituals which need to be followed. First full course meal is served for Lord Ganapathi in front of a lighted oil lamp (Nila Vilakku). This is in accordance with the Malayalese trend of starting everything in the name and presence of God.

More About the Meal
For a better understanding of the Onasadhya meal let us now go through all the dishes in a little more detail. If that temps you too much,
take a look at the recipes section and enjoy your Onam whenever you want.

OnasadyaThis 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.

Kalan or Pulisseri
This 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.

Olan 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 kind of a mixed vegetable as all sorts of available vegetables are added to it. All vegetables are first boiled in water with salt and chillies. Tamarind and well ground pulp are added at proper time. Aviyal is flavoured with coconut oil and Kariveppila.

Thoran is prepared by slicing beetroot and several other vegetables into very small pieces. These are then boiled in water with some salt and chillies till all the water dries up. Water can also be strained away. For seasoning, ground coconut pulp and mustard fried in coconut oil is used.

This resembles olan. It is a special Onam delicacy from the state of Kerala and has been recently added to Onam Sadhya.

This is a curry consisting of a variety of vegetables and some Bengal gram. It differs from Aviyal as it does not contain tamarind.

OnasadyaThis 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.

Pachchati, Kichchati

These are types of curry consisting chiefly of cucumber, mustard and sour butter milk or curds. In Kichchatim, young and tender cucumber is added

This 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.

This is an extremely delicious dish and is a sort of pudding. It is prepared from boiled potatoes mixed with molasses and coconut milk. The mixture is flavoured with spices. There is another type of payasam called 'Pal Payasam' in which rice is boiled with milk and sweetened with sugar.

There is a whole variety of Prathamans such as ata, pazham, parippu and palata prathamans.

A special drink is prepared for Onam in which water is boiled with a combination of cumin and dried ginger (chukku). This is beneficial from health point of view.

OnasadyaUpperi or Chips
Upperi is prepared from various things like raw bananas (kaaya), yam (chena), jack fruit (chakka), bitter gourd (pavayka) and egg plant fruit (vazhuthanga). Slices of the ingredient are fried in coconut oil to a crisp condition.

Pickles (Achaar)
These are prepared well in advance of Onasadhya. Pickles are chiefly made from mango, lemon, ginger, chillies and curry naranga.

Pappads (Pappadam)
These are prepared from black grams and are fried in oil. Pappadams are usually served in three sizes - small, medium and large.

Chiefly plantain fruits of various kinds are served along with other articles of food at meals.

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avivakirk IF-Sizzlerz

Joined: 25 October 2010
Posts: 11437

Posted: 26 August 2012 at 2:15pm | IP Logged

Onam Dance

The best of Kerala dances can be witnessed during the grand carnival of Onam. It is simply enthralling to note how rich is the folk culture of the state of Kerala. A display of so many unique and well perfected dances on a single platform pulls a number of dance lovers from all over the world to Kerala on Onam.

Some of the best known Kerala dances are performed on the occasion of Onam. Most remarkable of them all are Kathakali, Kaikottikali and Thumbi Thullal. If the unparalleled performance of Kathakali artistes leaves the audience awestruck, the very elegant Kaikottikali has the power to enchant them and leave them asking for more. Grace and simplicity are the hallmarks of Kerala dances and also their inherent characteristics.

The other enchanting folk dances performed on the occasion of Onam include Kumattikali and Pulikali or Kaduvakali. These are not just colourful and well orchestrated but are also hugely entertaining. Plaited grass and big wooden masks are particular to Kummatikali dancers who shake themselves on the rhythm provided by onavillu for the recreation of the people. Pulikali performers on the other hand paint themselves as tigers and enact hunting scenes to amuse people.

Kummatti kali
Kummattikali is the famous colorful mask-dance of Kerala, South Malabar in particular. During the festival of Onam, Kummattikali performers move from house to house collecting small gifts and entertaining people.

Pulikali / Kaduvakali
Pulikali is a colorful recreational folk art from the state of Kerala. It is performed by trained artists to entertain people on the occasion of Onam.

The festival of Onam is blessed with one very striking feather in its cap. The carnival witnesses the performance of unique and unparalleled dance-drama Kathakali. Amongst other places Shoranur, Kovalam and most importantly Cheruthuruthy get the honour of hosting Kathakali shows during the carnival of Onam.

Thumbi Thullal
Thumbi Thullal is a fascinating all women dance and singing event performed in Kerala on the occasion of Onam. While men engage themselves in energetic sports, womenfolk perform Thumbi Thullal and have their share of fun.

Kaikotti kali
Kaikottikali or Thiruvathirakali is an extremely popular folk dance performed by the maidens of Kerala. It is a group dance and is mainly performed on the occasion of Onam and Thiruvathira. Women, both young and old submerge themselves in the spirit of the occasion and dance with perfect ease and elan.

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avivakirk IF-Sizzlerz

Joined: 25 October 2010
Posts: 11437

Posted: 26 August 2012 at 2:18pm | IP Logged
Originally posted by Ravi.

Wish all my friends in SS a happy Onam. 
Denks Thambi!Big smile

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avivakirk IF-Sizzlerz

Joined: 25 October 2010
Posts: 11437

Posted: 26 August 2012 at 2:21pm | IP Logged
Pookalam is an intricate and colourful arrangement of flowers laid on the floor. Tradition of decorating Pookalam is extremely popular in Kerala and is followed as a ritual in every household during ten-day-long Onam celebrations.

'Pookhalam' consists of two words, 'poov' meaning flower and 'kalam' means colour sketches on the ground. It is considered auspicious to prepare Pookalam, also known as 'Aththa-Poo' during the festival of Onam.

People believe the spirit of their dear King Mahabali visits Kerala at the time of Onam. Besides making several other arrangements, people, especially adolescent girls prepare elaborate Pookalams to welcome their most loved King.

Making of a Pookalam
Kilo and kilos of flowers, lot of dedication, creativity, technique and team effort are the basic essential of an eye catching Pookkalam.

Athapoovu are usually circular in shape and multi-tiered colourful arrangements of flowers, petals and leaves. Use of powder colours, desiccated coconut or artificial flowers is prohibited. Pookalams are normally laid on the front court yard of the house. Idols of Mahabali and Vishnu are placed in the center of the Pookalam and worshiped. Diameter of a Pookalam normally ranges from four to five meters.

PookalamRitual of making the flower mats continues for all ten days of Onam. Designing starts from the day of Atham and is made ready by Thiruvonam day. Basic design is prepared on the first day. Size of a Pookalam is increased by adding more to it on every passing day hence a massive Pookalam gets ready for the main day of the occasion. Its a big creative task, as designers have to think of a new design ever day.

Various flowers are used on each day as a specific flower is dedicated to each day of Onam. Commonly used flowers include Thumba (Lucas Aspera), Kakka Poovu, Thechipoovu, Mukkutti (little tree plant), Chemparathy (shoe flower), Aripoo or Konginipoo (Lantana), Hanuman Kireedom (Red pagoda plant) and Chethi (Ixora). Of all these flowers, Thumba flowers are given more importance in Pookalam as they are small in size and glitter in the the soft rays of the sun. 'Thumba Poo' is also considered to be the favourite flower of Lord Shiva and King Mahabali was a devout worshipper of Shiva.

On the next day of Onam, Thumba flowers are used to decorate Onapookalam. The arrangement is not touched for the next 15 days. On the 15 th day, called 'Ayilyam', Pookalam is decorated again. On the next day, called Magam, Pookalam is given a cut in its four corners with a knife. This marks the end of Pookalam decorations for the year. Some also follow the tradition of erecting a small pandal over the completed flower carpet and decorating it with colourful festoons.

Making of Pookalam is itself a colourful and joyous event. Being a team effort it helps to generate feeling of togetherness and goodwill amongst the people. It is animating to watch women as they prepare Pookalam while singing traditional songs. Giggling and sharing jokes between the thought provoking and back breaking job.

Earlier, people used to make efforts to collect flowers for designing a Pookalam. Children used to get up early in the morning and gather flowers in their small 'Pookuda' (basket) from the village gardens. These days, the trend has changed and people have the option of buying flowers from the market in the shape and colour of their choice.

Pookalam decoration competitions are organised by various societies and groups all over the state on the day of Onam. They have become extremely popular and witness huge public participations. Big prizes are also kept in these contests as they have turned up to be extremely competitive events. A large number of people assemble just to have a look at the innovative and meticulously prepared art pieces.

A beautiful design, though it is said, is created in the heart, use of technology is also in vogue in designing of a Pookalam. People prepare design first on computer and then implement it on floor. This saves a lot of time and energy and helps the designers to come up with stunning Pookalams.

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