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Tripunitura Athachamayam, Onam Rituals and Celebrations, OnaSadhya,
Aranmula Uthrittathi Vallom Kali
'Athachamayam' at Tripunitura :
'Athachamayam' is a grand procession that marks the beginning of Onam
Festival. This procession is held in Tripunithura near Kochi.The event
recalls a royal tradition when Maharajas of one-time Kochi State travelled
to the Thripunithura Fort with their entire entourage, as a custom.
Onam Rituals and Celebrations :
Onam festivities continue for ten days starting from the day 'Atham'.
Atham is an auspicious day and people wake up early. 'Pookkalam' or flower
carpets are made from this day onwards till Thiruvonam day. Girls in the
house collect flowers and make Pookkalams every day in the morning.
'Uthradam' , the previous day of Onam is also an important day. In the
olden days, the villagers and the younger people in the family used to
present the 'Karnavar' or the eldest person in family with a set of gifts.
Villagers present him with their harvests. This is called 'Onakazhcha'.
The Karnavar gives out a grand feast to the people.
On the Thiruvonam day, all the members of the family takes bath in the
morning itself and dress up in their new attires and offer prayers in the
local temple. The new clothes are gifted to the people of the family by
the Tharavad Karnavar. This is called 'Onapudava'.
OnaSadhya or the Grand Feast :
The most important thing on the Onam day is 'OnaSadhya' or the grand
feast. There will be many traditional Kerala dishes served on the plantain
leaf. All the family members sit together to have the feast. In front of
the lighted lamp, a plantain leaf is placed with all the dishes and rice
served on it for the King Mahabali, who comes to visit his people. A lot
of hardwork and preparations are needed to make a good OnaSadhya.
Onakkalikal or Onam Games :
After the Sadhya, all the people gather and indulge in recreational
activities. Men indulge in games like 'Pulikali', 'Kuthu Kuthu' (Kerala
version of Kabaddi), and archery. Women performs dances like 'Thiruvathirakali'
or 'Kai Kottikali'. 'Thumbi Thullal' is another traditional game among
Keralites during Onam. There are 'Vallom Kali' or the Boat races also
Aranmula Uthrittathi Vallom Kali :
Aranmula Uthrittathi Vallom Kali or Boat Race is another important boat
race in Kerala. This is associated with Onam festival. It is meant to
relive mythology that narrates a story of Lord Krishna crossing the Pamba
river on that particular day.
Onam Songs :
There are many songs related to Onam festival. These are a rich collection
of Malayali folk and traditional songs. One of the songs tells about the
good times of Kerala during the reign of Mahabali. The song goes on as
"Maveli Nadu Vaneedum Kaalam, Manusharellarum onnu
Amothathode Vasikkum Kalam, Apathennarkkum Ottillathanum,
Kallavumilla Chathiyumilla, Ellolamilla Polivachanam,
Kallamparayum perunazhiyum, Kallatharangal Mattonnumilla"
The meaning of the song is that, during the reign of King Mahabali, all
the people were considered equal. All were living with great happiness. No
one had any threats, challenges or danger to life. There were no falsehood
or fraud. No one cheated others during those times. People never lied.
There were no wrong measuring equipments and weights. No one cheats or
wrongs the neighbour.
There were other songs related to Onam. There are Boat race songs or 'Vanchippattu',
sung during boat races. Oonjal or Swing Songs are traditional songs (Onappaattu)
sung during swinging ('Oonjalattam'). 'Thumbi Thullal Songs' are also
Onam is celebrated not only by Hindus but also by all other religions.
Onam is a festival that unites people of Kerala.