Onam celebrations in Kerala | A throwback to the pre-pandemic times

Malls in Kochi witness surge in footfalls and shopping during this festive season

Updated - September 07, 2022 04:12 pm IST

Published - September 07, 2022 01:52 pm IST - KOCHI:

A stall at the Onam fair organised by the Kudumbashree at the Manjalikkulam grounds in Thiruvananthapuram. File photo

A stall at the Onam fair organised by the Kudumbashree at the Manjalikkulam grounds in Thiruvananthapuram. File photo | Photo Credit: S. Mahinsha

Notwithstanding intermittent spells of heavy showers that somewhat dampened the mood of traders, this Onam more or less turned out to be a throwback to the pre-pandemic times when it was celebrated with boundless joy by all sections of the society.

After the pandemic literally wiped out the Onam season sales for two years in succession, traders were looking forward for the business to be restored to the pre-pandemic level this time. It almost did but for bouts of rain in the lead up to Onam.

“The business this time was easily the best since 2020 and it would have been much better had rain stayed away,” said P.A. Sageer, president, Broadway Shop Owners Association.

But the heavy showers, which was since then attributed to a mini cloud burst, that literally left most of the city flooded on August 30, poured cold water on the business plans of sections of traders.

“Many shops got flooded that day wasting away the fresh stock traders had assembled for the Onam season sales. Also, small and marginal traders did far from good business as the commoners, a major segment of their clientele, had little dispensable income, as many sectors like construction they were employed in were yet to fully recover from the blows of the pandemic,” said K.A. Nadirsha, a district committee member of the Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi.

Kudumbashree Onam fairs in the district targeting a turnover of ₹4 crore were also affected by the rain. Fairs held across all 102 Community Development Societies and four district level fairs were wrapped up on Wednesday.

Malls in the city, however, witnessed a surge in footfalls and shopping during this festive season. “We had extended the shopping hours till midnight from the day of Atham considering the crowd and it will last till Thiruvonam day. There was good response to our digital expo showcasing electronic equipment and also for the cultural programmes held in our mall,” said Swaraj N.B, media coordinator for Lulu Group.

The celebrations in Infopark Kochi culminated with an Onam fete featuring various indigenous art forms organised by the District Tourism Promotion Council on Tuesday. “Many companies used Onam celebrations to lure employees continuing to opt for work from home arrangement back to office and succeeded to a certain extent. The campus was in a holiday mood since last weekend and is likely to spring back to life only on Monday," said Regi K. Thomas, Manager (Administration), Infopark Kochi.

Campuses across the city also witnessed enthusiastic participation of youngsters in Onam celebrations. “This time we organised it on a grand scale spread across two days with one day dedicated to celebrations organised by the union while independent departments also celebrated on their own,” said Haris Mehroof, chairman, Cochin University of Science and Technology.

Movie houses also witnessed improved footfalls with Onam releases hitting the screens. But theatre operators are also keeping their fingers crossed concerned over whether rain will play spoilsport.

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