Onam – India’s Flower Festival

Colorful flowers arranged in pookalam

The content of this post was submitted to Edge of Humanity Magazine by Blogger Rukmini Krishnan.

 

Click on any image to learn more about daily life in India by Rukmini Krishnan.

 

India is a land of festivals and culture. Every festival has a religious significance to it. It is usually filled with color, vibrancy, dedication and a certain discipline which is coupled with joy, happiness and celebrations.

The Onam festival is a very special and important one for the people of Southern India. Said to be a very auspicious day, the festival is a ten day long celebration. It celebrates the spirit of victory and one can find the entire state of Kerala in full flow with a lot of color and energy all over.

Pookalam is a very integral part of the Onam Festival and refers to the colorful intricate arrangement of flowers into a design and a pattern. The flowers are usually laid on the floor and the tradition is very popular in Kerala.

A basic design is first drawn on the ground and the measurements drawn according to symmetry. Then each day the size is extended a little more thus at the end of the ten days, one has a huge design to exhibit.

Designs are made on the floors

Designs are made on the floors

The basic of Pookalam is to decorate it with flowers, in a creative way and with a lot of technique. Team effort is the key here and one simply would love to be a part of the eye catching designs. Usually a flower called Athapoovu is used and these are circular in shape. They are then added with multi tiers of petal leaves and flowers.

Petals and leaves

Petals and leaves

Besides flowers, one also uses colorful powder, desiccated coconut and artificial flowers. The courtyard of all houses thus look colorful with the arrangement of these flowers. With idols of Mahabali and also Lord Vishnu in the center of the flower arrangement, the whole look is indeed divine and absolutely wonderful. The diameter of a Pookalam usually is around four to five meters.

Flowers used in pookalam

Flowers used in pookalam

Some have a tradition of having a small tent erected over the flower carpet and decorating it with festoons, while some change the designs every day. Making the Pookalam is a joyous and happy event and being a part of the team skill is a perfect way of endorsing management techniques. People like to enjoy showing their ability and talent and make way for the best kind of innovations.

Pookalam is a continuous source of energy and one only can marvel at the way things are observed in Indian culture.

Legend has it that the spirit of their favorite King Mahabali usually visits the state of Kerala during this time and one prepares these colorful designs to welcome the King every year.

 

See also:

The Gudi Padwa Carnival

The Marapachi Dolls From South India

By Rukmini Krishnan

 


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