My Onam 2012

September 03, 2012

Our Pookalam, with a Traditional Lamp placed in the Centre

First of all, I hope that you all of you had a wonderful Onam! And those of you who are not aware of this festival, let me enlighten you!

Onam is originally a Hindu festival of Kerala. However, in central Kerala, where I hail from, this festival is celebrated with equal spirit and fervour among people of all religions. I love the Onam festival especially for 2 reasons - the Onam Sadhya and the Pookalam. The Onam Sadhya is a purely-vegetarian feast prepared during Onam. Being a vegetarian myself, I love this meal, especially the Paayasam (dessert/kheer). The Pookalam is a flower arrangement made on the floor. I just love and thoroughly enjoy making this flower decoration each year. 

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This year, Onam was on August 29th, and I had a delicious Onam Sadhya at my parents's place on that day. On Sunday, we invited my parents to an elaborate Onam Sadhya at our house. So we had 2 Onam Sadhyas in one week!

Onam is the rice harvest festival of Kerala that celebrates the Asura King Mahabali's annual visit from Patala (the underworld). This festival holds great significance since Mahabali has been revered by the people of Kerala from time immemorial. The Onam festival also showcases the rich cultural heritage of Kerala.

Pookkalam in Full View

This is the Pookalam or flower decoration that I made this year. Since Junior was down with fever this time, we designed and made this in a hurry. Junior did help a bit though (how could he not!!!) and also had some 'valuable' suggestions to make, which of course were heard but not implemented!  

Traditional Lamp

We placed this small lamp in the centre. Actually, we have a big 'nilavilakku' in our house that was gifted to us by my parents, some time back. But since we usually make this pookalam in the sit-out of our house, we did not want to risk its theft. After all, we would like to actually 'see' the nilavilakku rather than have it only in our memories.

Our Onam Sadhya

The central feature of Onam is the grand feast called Onasadya. It is a nine-course meal consisting of 11 to 13 essential dishes. Onasadya is served on banana leaves and people sit on a mat laid on the floor to have the meal. As you can see, I have not made a 'grand' one as my little hands could do only this much with some help from Mr. B, of course. I love sitting down and having this from a banana leaf. When else do we actually sit down on the floor and have a meal? And yes, I made 2 delicious payasams - Paalada Payasam and Pazha Pradhaman!    

My Marigold Flower Arrangement

This is a quick table flower arrangement that I made with the extra marigold flowers that could not grace my pookalam. They were so bright and cheerful that I did not want to hurt them by throwing. So I quickly arranged them here.

After making the Pookalam and having the hearty Onam Sadhya, we were exhausted and had a long rest .

We will have to wait one full year now for Onam to come back..... On a positive note, there is Diwali and Christmas..... and all our birthdays and anniversary in between, that are nothing less than a festival. So there is hope.......

P.S. - I was not born and brought up in Kerala and I hardly have spent much time there. So I am not very familiar with all the Keralite customs and rituals. But I do enjoy and celebrate them with a lot of enthusiasm. If any of you find anything amiss, then please go back and look at my pookalam and onam sadhya pictures. That should cheer you up!

By the way, I will soon be posting the paayasam recipes on Indian Beauty Cafe, so interested folks, do visit my blog soon.

Thanks for reading and have a nice day!

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