“Onam” a word that is too close to the heart, for Malayalees all over the world. This festival is celebrated by Malayalees from all walks of life, rich and poor, Hindu, Muslim or Christian, from Australia to Alaska. It is said one can find Malayalees selling tea on the moon as well. Hypothetical but you never know, this might be possible as the spirit of a Malayalee never dies but passes along to the next generations like a legacy. And it’s this spirit that makes this festival feel its presence all over the world.
This festival is celebrated for 10 days. It has a spirit of unity which brings all the people together under one roof, even in today’s world which is infected by technological innovations that has kept every human glued to their private world of expressionless conversations. It doesn’t matter if the community has 2 families or 200, the grandeur of the celebration remains intact with a sense of cultural pride and happiness. The only time when formal wears like suits and casual wears like jeans and t-shirts are shunned and Kerala traditional attires like the kasavu mundu for men and veshti mundu or sarees with gold embroidery in white fabric for women comes out of the wardrobes, enlightening the natural beauty and elegance of the individual. The communities of Malayalees outside Kerala known as Pravasi Malayalees make it a mandatory celebration through their community social organizations induced with cultural events participated by kids and elderly alike but never complete without the lip-smacking, finger-licking feast known as Ona Sadhya consisting authentic Kerala dishes.
So what is Onam, the myth says some ambitious king who returns to visit his people as he was kicked down to hell by a saint because he couldn’t provide three steps of land the saint demanded. Or is it the harvest festival of the peasants from the God’s own country. I don’t know if either of the stories are true. Onam, I know is a frame with a click where family and friends get together to celebrate this festival which is as evergreen and mystical as the place where it originated.
Almost every food item served on the banana leaf includes a coconut part of the ingredient but each of the item tastes immensely different. The magic, Malayalees can do with coconuts is well known.
The meat craving Keralites keep aside all their fetishes on Onam. Well there is a reason. There are 26 or more sumptuous vegetarian delicacies served on the banana leaf on that day. So, who would care for a portion of chicken, fish or beef. One of the few days where vegetables score leaps and bounds over non-vegetarian food items.
The pompous and spirit of this festival cannot be expressed in words, it has to be experienced. This Onam season awaits you to be a part of it. Find a Malayalee community nearby and you are guaranteed to receive a warm welcome to be a part of their celebrations on this day. You are sure to feel that God has dawned upon your soul during this month. For the people from the God’s Own Country this is nothing short than God’s Own Festival..
(P.S.: This is a guest post. Other than basic editing and filtering BackPunch does not have any right over this post.)