Thursday, 8 September 2011

Happy Onam!

Today is Onam, the mother of all festivals in Kerala. It is the day when the legendary King Mahabali makes his annual visit to all Malayali homes. To welcome him, a pookalam (flower arrangement) is made in front of the house. 

When I was young, I'd wake up early on Onam and go on a flower picking expedition. Flowers from the garden and the wayside were collected and arranged in rings. The flower gathering trek was as much a part of the festival as the final arrangement. Today, pookalams are often grander, but the flowers are usually always bought.
Pookalam - 2011; Tuberose, Rose, Chrysanthemum, Jasmine, Lotus, etc.

Here is our little pookalam made by my little boy (and me). My mother always insisted on a hibiscus flower in the centre. It symbolises the koda (umbrella), she said, ubiquitous in Kerala.

And this is last year's pookalam.
Pookalam: 2010; Jasmine, Rose, Chrysanthemum, Marigold, etc.
Onam is about flowers, Onasadyas (feasts), new clothes and revelry. Happy Onam!


  1. Very pretty, happy Onam to you.

  2. Happy Onam, Anita. You have made a lovely pookalam! Those things would never work well in the UK - the wind would blow them all away... :-(

  3. Happy Onam! You made a beautiful pookalam, I hope your family enjoys the days festivities :)

  4. vasanti said:

    Nice! Hope all of you had a nice day on Onam day.

  5. Anita, Hope you enjoyed Oman day. The pookalams are beautiful! Sounds like a lovely holiday.

  6. That's a very beautiful onam pookalam! Really a fun-filled holiday! My best Onam wishes to you and your family. Have fun!