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My Onam Celebration in China

2020-09-01 15:20:43   Source:Chindianet   Author:Sanjay
Onam is an annual holiday and festival celebrated in Kerala, India. It is also a harvest festival, and falls on the 22nd Nakshatra Thiruvonam in the Malayalam calendar month of Chingam, which in Gregorian calendar overlaps with August–September. According to legends, the festival is celebrated to commemorate King Mahabali, whose spirit is said to visit Kerala at the time of Onam.

This 10-day festival is a joyous time for all Malayalee’s, who welcome their king on this day. Aesthetically laid out flower designs in front of the house with a variety of colourful flowers (pookalam) evoke a sense of plenitude and prosperity, which Onam represents. Not to speak of women adorned with gold ornaments and new clothes. Every bit of the Onam celebration is a nostalgic reminder of the bygone glory of the past. The sumptuous sadya (an elaborate feast) is followed by kaikottikali (a graceful dance), Tumbi tullal and other folk performances like kummatikali and Puli Kali.

Onam for me

For me and my family onam is one of my favourite festivals. We start inviting relatives, friends to celebrate onam together. On the day onam, my family will be busy making the onam feast. That will be happening in every house who celebrates onam. Eventually, the guest will also accompany you make to the onam feast and that’s why it’s considered as the festival of love and relationship. Everyone enjoys the feast together. Everyone will be happy these days and enjoys the day. Last day of the onam most families go out to watch the celebrations like boat race or other cultural programs.

Onam in china

Mostly onam is celebrated in August and September. The universities open after vacation on the end of August or first week of September, so we nearly miss onam with days or weeks. After coming to China, I didn’t celebrate onam with my family. It’s was so hard sometimes. Mainly misses the friends and family and the feast. But still, we celebrate onam with friends in china. We cook the feast and eat a feast together with friends. We buy everything from the supermarket on the onam eve for making the onam feast. We start cooking in the morning. Usually, the feast eats as lunch. After cooking we dress up traditionally and takes pictures for the lifetime memories and starts enjoying the feast and that will be a big group of peoples. That is such a great time in China.

 Onam of 2020

Onam feast we made


As due to epidemic most the people suffering a hard time in every part of the world. So, this time onam will be a lot of different. Most of the people celebrating at their own house due to the pandemic. All the celebration and cultural programmes are cancelled due to the pandemic to ensure the safety of the citizens. For me this time the onam wasn’t that good because missing my family and friends. Most of them went back because of the pandemic and they didn’t come back. So, most of my friends celebrated onam at their own house. Most of them celebrated virtually with their friends and family. For me, only 7 people from Kerala exist in our pack now. So, we celebrated onam in our ways. So, we planned how to celebrate.  we said that everyone should wake up in the morning and we need to prepare lunch. Everything happened oppositely, we woke up in the Noon and ate the onam lunch as dinner. Finally, we made the onam feast and enjoyed the feast together with some chats and fun.  And some photo sessions in the traditional clothing and for fun, a small session of tug of war inside the house and that was fun and burst out laughs. And everyone enjoyed the feast and feast made everyone on food coma. It was a great day.

Tradition and custom

Onam is the official state festival of Kerala with public holidays that start four days from Uthradam (Onam eve). Major festivities take place across so many venues in Kerala. It is also celebrated by Malayali diaspora around the world. Though a Hindu festival, non-Hindu communities of Kerala participate in Onam celebrations considering it as a cultural festival. Most Muslims and Christian families join the festivities in Kerala and celebrate "Hindu festivals such as Onam".

The celebrations mark the Malayalam New Year, are spread over ten days, and conclude with Thiruvonam. The ten days are sequentially known as Atham, Chithira, Chodhi, Vishakam, Anizham, Thriketa, Moolam, Pooradam, Uthradam and Thiruvonam. The first and the last day are particularly important in Kerala and to Malayalee communities elsewhere.

As onam arrives the stores, markets and streets are busy with onam stuff. The people start to clean their house and their surroundings. It’s a festival of love and relationship also. Everyone starts to invite their relatives, friends to celebrate onam together. It’s a festival of secularism also. People buy and wear new clothes for the occasion of Onam, and this tradition is called the Onakkodi, or else given as a gift to their loved ones while they visit. The swing is another integral part of Onam, especially in rural areas. The Onam feast starts with lunch and the celebrations go on.

The Onam feasts

The Onam sadya (feast) is another indispensable part of Thiruvonam and almost every Keralite attempt to either make or attend one. The Onam sadya reflects the spirit of the season and is traditionally made. The feast is served on plantain leaves and consists of nine courses but may include over two dozen dishes. The feast normally will be having 10-15 sides to enjoy the meal. The meal starts with rice and the accompanying curries and the feast ends with a series of dessert called Payasam. In hotels and temples, the number of curries and dishes may go up to 30. This an important feast of Kerala’s culture.


Pookalam or floral carpet

The traditional ritual of laying pookkalam (floral carpet) starts on Atham day. The pookkalam on this day is called Athapoo, and it is relatively small in size. The size of the pookkalam grows in size progressively with each day of the Onam festival.  The floral carpet, known as Onapookkalam or just Pookkalam is made out of the gathered blossoms with several varieties of flowers of differing tints pinched up into little pieces to design and decorate patterns on the floor, particularly at entrances and temple premises like a flower mat. Lamps are arranged in the middle or edges.

Vallam kali or boat race

The Vallamkali (the snake boat race) is another event that is synonymous with Onam. Numerous oarsmen row huge snake-shaped boats. Men and women come from far and near to watch and cheer the snake boat race through the water. As a tribute to the traditional snake boat race, a similar snake boat race is also held by the Malayali diaspora in Singapore annually during Onam at the Jurong Lake.
Traditional dance forms including Thiruvathira, Kummattikali, Pulikali, Thumbi Thullal, Onam Kali and others. Thiruvathira Kali is a women's dance performed in a circle around a lamp. Kummattikali is a colourful-mask dance. festivities include a procession consisting of caparisoned elephants surrounded by Kummatikali dancers. The masked dancers go from house to house performing the colourful Kummattikali. Onam Kali is a form of dance where players arrange themselves in circles around a pole or tree or lamp, then dance and sing songs derived from the Ramayana and other epics.

Pulikali, also known as Kaduvakali is a common sight during the Onam season. This dance showcases performers painted like tigers in bright yellow, red and black, who dance to the beats of instruments like Chenda and Thakil. This folk art is mainly performed in the cultural district of Thrissur and thousands pour into the city to be a part of this art.

Post Celebration

Normally, the largest chunk of Onam celebrations ends by Thiruvonam. However, the two days following Thiruvonam are also celebrated as Third and Fourth Onam. The third Onam, called Avvittom marks the preparations for King Mahabali's return ascension to heavens. The main ritual of the day is to take the Onathappan statue which was placed in the middle of every Pookkalam during the past 10 days and immerse it in nearby rivers or sea. The Pookkalam will be cleaned and removed after this ritual.

Hoping a good year ahead and Happy Onam!
Keywords: Onam
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