Onam harbingers a season of festivities in Kerala

September 3rd, 2008 - 8:49 pm ICT by ANI  

By Juhan Samuel
Kochi, Sep.3 (ANI): Onam, the 10-day harvest festival of Kerala started on Tuesday with Athachamayam, a great pomp and show parade at Tripunithura, the seat of the erstwhile Cochin royalty, near Kochi.
Later, the parade is taken out through the narrow streets with thousands of people watching and participating in the celebrations.
Also known as Athakosham, this festival attracts many tourists from India and abroad to Tripunithuva its highlights being ancient and modern art forms such as folk dances, competitions and other entertainment programs.
The ceremonial parade and processions are conducted every year depicting the visit of the erstwhile ruler, said tourist Palm Gardner from Hongkong.
Some believe that this day is followed ever since the ruling King of Kochi took out a march to display the regal glory and splendor of Lord Mahabali.
For the local Keralites, this occasion marks the beginning of 10-day festivities that conclude on the Thiruonam Day with lots of food and variety of curries served on banana leaf platter, says Sarasvati Amma, an elderly lady.
“Onam starts with Attham and from today onwards we will be putting Attapookalam (or, floral carpets) in our homes. All our family members get together, the festivities peak on Uttradom and Thiruonam. We all take a sumptuous lunch on these days, said one of the devotees.
This annual event has today turned to be a grand function now in which people irrespective of cast and creed, participate.
Various organizations in and around Kochi join together to take part in the parade in different costumes for which the preparations starts few days ahead of the main function.
Apart from elephant march, local villagers and schoolchildren perform and present theme floats, traditional art forms of Kerala like Theyyam, Kummatti, Kolkali, Arjuna nrutham, Ardha Nareeswara Nritham, Pulikali (tiger dance) and other folk art forms. (ANI)

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