Monday, September 22, 2008

Onam 2008 Recap

Well, we have bid farewell to Mahabali (Onam primer) for 2008 and all Keralites must be taking a breather after the month long feasts for eyes, ears and most of all the taste buds. It took me almost one week to emerge from the hangover. I am reminded of the verses learnt during school days, which goes to say that even during those days, people got exhausted after the visit of Mahabali. I don’t remember all the verses, it went something as follows:

Maveli ninte varavu moolam,
Paavangal kashtathilaayi nanagal
Varnapookaadukal kandu kandu
Kannile kazcha maranju poyi
Vittupovillurakadalasittalum
Kannezhuthennu vannu
Vinnilalakkunna pooviliyaal
Annakku mannattayayi mari
Nendrapazhathodu malladichu
Konthranpallokke thakarnnu poyi
Upperi pappadam thinnu thinnittulla
Ruchiyum paraparnnu
Maaveli ninte varavu moolam
paavangal Kashtathilaayi nangal

Oh Mahabali, we poor people are put to a lot of hardship because of your arrival
Our vision has started blurring seeing the vast expanse of blooming gardens
We are unable to remove the kaajal applied to our eyes, despite rubbing with sand paper
Our vocal chords have gone hoarse after repeatedly hailing you
Our teeth are broken eating nendrapazhams
We have lost all our appetite after eating loads and loads of chips and papads

So went the verses. So I am justified in taking this week long off before concluding my series on Onam. Here then is my grand finale for Onam 2008.


We had a fantastic Onam, again with both our kids at home after a long time. We had Pazhapulissery, Kootukari, Pachadi, Puliinji, Varuthupperi, Sarkkara Upperi, Papadam, Pazha nurukku and a grand Ada Pradhaman. I shall post the recipes in due course. These days, I stagger making of the dishes across multiple days as no one is able to do justice if all the dishes are made on the same day. Hence the whole range of Sambar, Kalan, Olan, Aviyal, Erissery, Pachadi, Kichadi, Kari, Kootu, Thoran, Puliinji, etc., get spread over the season and not on Thiruvonam day. So also with Payasams. We had Semiya Payasam on Uthradam day, Ada Pradhaman on Thiruvonam and Paal Payasam on Avittam day.

Onam is celebrated differently in different parts of Kerala. Whereas in the Kerala Iyer community of Palghat, Onam is only feasting and making pookalams, the other communities make pyramid shapes with a flat top, with clay called Madevar and invoke Mahavishnu and Mahabali in them and offer poojas to Neyvedyam for Madevar is Elayadai or Valsan or Poovadai as it is called by different people. Many people offer Unniyappam also to Madevar.
My sister-in-law, hailing from South Kerala, tells me about the practice of pinning flower buds on to banana stems (a la Mr Sivamony in comments here) and decorating the pookalam. She says that in their village they make the pookalams the previous evening so that they are free on Thiruvonam morning. Also the practice of making an angular pookalam on Moolam day (moola means corner in Malayalam) is unheard of in our part.
Similarly the entertainments of Thiruvonam season also differ. Whereas the boat race is the main attraction in the backwater ridden southern districts, it is Pulikali (tiger dance) in the central and northern districts. In the interior rural villages like Puthucode, it is villupattu and Kaikottikali.

The main attraction everywhere though is the Onam feast and the camaraderie .

Happy times until the next Onam!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

GREAT AMMUPATTY THE AWESOME NARRATION OF THE EVENT. BUT WHAT ABOUT PAZHA PRADHAMAN BASED ON NENTHRA PAZHA VARATTY MAY BE U KEPT IT A SECRET FROM US. THE NENTHRA PAZHAM OF KANJALIKODAN VARIEY FROM TRICHUR AREA IS ONE HAVING NO SECONDS.
VALSAN IS THE ROUTINE FOR ONAM AS THE CHAKKAI PAZHAM IS NOT COMMON IN THE MONTH OF CHINGAM.
THESE DAY THE GOVET ORGANISE THE TOURIST PROGRAMS AND COMPETITIONS FOR THE LOCALS . GREAT PATTY WHY NOT GO IN PUBLISHING A BOOKS BASED ON THE BLOG WITH RECIPES DETAILS.
SIVAMONI

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