Onam Ashamsakal

I feel privileged to be born and raised with a very cultural diverse background. My parents were born in two different ends of Tamil Nadu, my father’s ancestral village is on the border of Kerala. I am Bombay-bred, and grew up with people from all walks, cultures and ethnicity of the world. Being an agrarian country, every region celebrates harvest festivals with much fanfare. India has two major cultivation cycles, kharif and rabi. Kharif or monsoon crops are sown at the start of monsoon and harvested based on monsoon patterns. Rabi or winter crops are sown at the beginning of winter and harvested at the onset of spring. By this logic, Pongal, Lohri, Vishu and Makar Sankranti are some of the examples of Rabi harvests. Onam, which culminates after 10 days of festivities, is a Kharif harvest, celebrated in Kerala, India. Legends suggests that the festival , is attributed to commemorate King Mahabali, whose spirit is said to visit Kerala at the time of Onam.

Over 10 days of the Onam celebrations, you can enjoy Vallam Kali (boat races), Pulikali (tiger dances), Pookkalam (flower Rangoli), Kali, Tug of War, Kaikottakali (women’s dance), Kathakali (mask dance), and Atthachamayam (folk songs and dance), among other celebrations across Kerala. The highlight of Onam though is the sadya. Everything that is harvested during the season is offered on a plantain leaf-plate. The miniature sadya in the pictures is courtesy Shilpa of suenosouvenir! You can see the puokkalam and the coconut leaf toranam too. Too bad I couldn’t get the traditional lamp, a miniature of which is nested away back home. Happy Onam everyone!

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