It’s a special Wednesday for Malayalees in the city who are all set to celebrate Onam. Even while missing the big-time celebrations back home in Kerala where the smell of the harvest festival is enchanting and lasts for about seven to 10 days, an eagerly-awaited period when the legendary king Mahabali’s spirit is said to visit his people, Malayalees in the city manage to recreate the magic of Onam by coming together for a collective gala.
To welcome Mahabali, Malayalees adorn their front yards with Pookkalam, a flower arrangement created by women in intricate patterns. Onam is one festival that ushers in all things fresh –nature adorns with a fresh look and monsoons add to the beauty by generating verdant carpet.
Away from home, Malayalees in the city come together to share happy moments with everyone. The Kerala Club, the Vijayawada Malayalee Association and a couple of other similar organisations break into zestful merriment on the occasion.
Many families from God’s Own Country have settled here in different professions and businesses. For them, Onam is an occasion to revisit their home town. They almost create a mini Kerala in Vijayawada where members sing, dance and make merry.
“The festival is much more than an annual event as it exemplifies the socio-cultural rhythm of Kerala. Laying of the Pookkalam or the floral carpet in front of every household continues on all the 10 days. Captivating folk dance forms like Thiruvathirakali, Pulikali and Vallam kali are included in the cultural bonanza doled out in this season,” says Sunil of the Vijayawada Malayalee Association. The Onasadhya, one of the main highlights of the festival is a smorgasbord of delicacies with coconut as the main ingredient. Be it parupu (dal), avial (a mixed vegetables steamed and mixed with curd), olan, thoran, inchikari, kalan or paayasam, everything has coconut in it.
The Vijayawada Malayalee Association will celebrate Onam on September 9.