Onam, a ten-day festival, is not just a celebration but a reflection of Kerala’s rich cultural heritage. Rooted in the legend of King Mahabali and Lord Vishnu’s Vamana avatar, the festival signifies the homecoming of the beloved king and showcases the state’s unity, irrespective of caste, creed, or religion.
Uthradom: The Prelude to Thiruvonam Uthradom, the ninth day, is often referred to as the ‘First Onam’. It sets the stage for Thiruvonam, the main day of the festival. Homes are cleaned, and preparations for the grand feast, the Onasadya, begin in earnest. Markets bustle with activity as people shop for fresh vegetables, flowers, and other essentials.
A Tapestry of Colors and Flavors One of the most iconic elements of Onam is the ‘Pookalam’, a floral carpet laid out in front of homes. As Uthradom marks the beginning of grand festivities, the designs become more intricate and expansive, symbolizing the anticipation of King Mahabali’s arrival.The aroma of traditional dishes being prepared fills the air. From the creamy ‘Avial’ to the sweet ‘Payasam’, kitchens are abuzz with activity, as families come together to prepare the Onasadya.While Kerala remains the epicenter of Onam celebrations, the festival’s essence is captured by Malyalees across the globe. From the United States to the UAE, Malyalee communities come together, organizing cultural programs, traditional games, and feasts, ensuring that the spirit of Onam is alive, no matter where they are. As Malyalees gear up for Thiruvonam, the air is filled with excitement and joy. In a world that often seems divided, Onam serves as a beautiful reminder of unity, love, and the importance of coming together as a community.