Festival of flowers
The seventh day of Onam Celebrations. On the seventh day, the smaller versions of traditional Ona Sadya (Onam special buffet lunch) start in many places. Most of the temples offers special sadhyas on from this day. Festivities include Puli Kali (Masked leopard dance) and traditional dance forms like Kaikotti Kali also performed in various functions. The official Government celebrations start on this day with heavy illuminations in Thiruvananthapuram City, Kochi city and Kozhikode along with fireworks.
The ninth day of Onam Celebrations. Uthradom is the ninth and the penultimate day of the festival of Onam. It is considered as Onam eve and celebrated in a very big way. The importance of this day is last minute extreme shopping frenzy called as Uthradappachil and is considered the most auspicious day for purchase of fresh vegetables and fruits along with other provisions from the Thiruvonam day.
Uthradam is known as FIRST ONAM because it marks the day when King Mahabali descends onto Kerala and the traditional myths says that the king will spend the next four days touring his erstwhile kingdom and blessing the subjects. Due to this Urthadom is celebrated in a very pompous manner with larger pookkalam and celebrations in household. The Uthrada lunch is traditionally very famous. Women normally cut the first set of vegetables on this day that marks the celebrations of Thiruvonam in each household and preparations for grand Onam buffet start during the evening of Uthradom day.
Activities begin early in the morning. People clean their house, apply rice flour batter on the main entrance (a traditional welcome sign), take an early bath, wear new clothes and distribute alms to needy. The eldest female member of each family presents clothes to all the members of the family. Special prayers and Masses are organized in temples, churches and mosques that highlight the secular nature of festival. Later a very special and the biggest of all days, Pookkalam is prepared to welcome Mahabali.
The most important activity of Thiruvonam is the grand Thiruvona-Sadya, well known for being one of the most sumptuous feasts ever prepared by mankind. The level of sumptuous varies at each individual household, however every household tries to make as grand as possible as they can. The feast served on plantain leaves have more than 13 to 15 curries apart from other regular items. In hotels and temples, number of curries and dishes can go up to 30 for the feast. Whatever may happen no Malayalee will miss the Grand ona-sadya. There is a saying in Malayalam that "Kaanam Vittum Onam Unnanam" which means "We should have the Thiruvonam lunch even if we have to sell all our properties" which shows the importance of the grand lunch on the Thiruvonam day.
A fabulous display of fireworks turns the capital Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi into a veritable fairyland. Sumptuous feasts are prepared in every household. Even the poorest of the poor manage to find something for himself to celebrate this festival in his own humble way.
The afternoon is marked with various traditional Onam games normally seen in rural areas and are organized by resident associations, clubs etc. in large cities. In some parts of Kerala, people indulge in various games and dances during and post thiruvonam. It is known as Onakkalikal and includes Thiruvathirakali, Kummattikali, Pulikali etc. Kummattikali or Kummatti Kali is the famous colorful-mask dance. People also take part in many kinds of competitions like Ox Race (Maramadimatsaram), Uriyady, food eating competitions, pookkalam creations etc.
Onam is an ancient festival which still survives in modern times. Kerala's rice harvest festival and the Festival of Rain Flowers, which fall on the Malayalam month of Chingam, celebrates the Asura King Mahabali's annual visit from patala (the underworld). Onam is unique since Mahabali has been revered by the people of Kerala since prehistory.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.
Mahabali's rule is considered the golden era of Kerala. The following song is often sung over Onam:
Maveli nadu vaneedum kalam,
amodhathode vasikkum kalam
kallavum illa chathiyumilla
When Maveli ruled the land,
All the people were equal.
And people were joyful and merry;
They were all free from harm.
There was neither anxiety nor sickness,
Deaths of children were unheard of,
There were no lies,
There was neither theft nor deceit,
And no one was false in speech either.
Measures and weights were right;
No one cheated or wronged his neighbor.
When Maveli ruled the land,
All the people formed one casteless races
The beauty of the festival lies in its 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.
The rich cultural heritage of Kerala comes out in its best form and spirit during the ten-day festival. The central feature of Onam is the grand feast called Onasadya, prepared on Thiruonam. It is a nine-course meal consisting of 11 to 13 essential dishes. Onasadya is served on banana leaves and people sit on a mat laid on the floor to have the meal.
Foods of onam
- Parippu curry
- Pineapple Pachhady
- Kaya Varuthathu
- Tomato Thokku
- Lady's Finger Kichadi
- Masala Pesarattu
- Coconut Chutney
- Medu Vada
- Masala Vada
- Mor Kuzhambu
- Dry Fruit Kesari
- Banana Halwa
- Palada Pradhaman
- Rice Puttu
- Tomato Rasam
- Dudhi (Chorekka) Pradhaman