Wednesday, August 19, 2015


Onam is the most important festival of Kerala which is celebrated by all Kerala people without the barrier of Caste,religion etc and will be celebrated in a grand manner by all sectors of the society.The festival lasts for two weeks which starts from 'Atham asterism' day to 'Uthrittathi asterism' day in the Malayalam month of Chingam (Aug-Sept) every year.The most important day of celebration is known as 'Thiru Onam' and this year it will be on 28th August 2015.
Ten days prior to 'Thiruvonam asterism' day Onam celebration starts  practically which is from  'Atham star' day and this year it started  from yesterday 19th August 2015.On the Atham asterism day in the month of Chingam a colorful procession will be conducted at 'Thripunithura town' near Ernakulam which was the Headquarters  of the Cochin  Kingdom as well as the nearby place where the most important temple of  'Lord Vamana' exists.Lord Vamana, the incarnation of Lord Mahavishnu because of the request of the celestial beings 'Devas' sent the most loved ruler of Kerala 'Mahabali' to the underworld 'Patalam'.Mahabali was a noble mighty Asura King who acquired the throne of Indra of the heaven which caused the enmity of the celestial beings.Mahavishnu wanted to give back the throne to Lord Indra  as per the request of the celestial beings.Since Mahabali was a noble personality and a generous ruler and was punished without committing any sin  he was granted immortality and  given permission to come back to visit Kerala every year during 'Onam' period and he will come along with 'Lord Mahavishnu' is the Hindu belief.
Hindus start decorating a floral arrangement in front of their homes every day morning during this 10 days period from 'Atham Star' day  according to this belief to greet Lord Mahavishnu and King Mahabali. This floral arrangement in round shape is  known as 'Pookkalam'and will be made with fresh flowers every morning.Young girls in the family makes this Pookkalam in the early morning. 
On the 'Atham asterism' day as a proclamation of the commencement of  that year's Onam Celebration, a colorful procession is held at 'Thrippunithura' which is known as 'Athachamayam'.
This spectacular procession is conducted  every year and large number of people gather to watch it.In that procession there will be Caparisoned elephants,Playing of percussion instruments like Chenda,Panchavadyam etc,playing of musical instruments like Nagaswaram,Beautiful floats displaying various themes,dancers of Bharathanatyam,Mohiniyattam,Kuchupudi,Thiruvathira Kali etc,Kathakali,Theyyam,Padayani etc,Other folk dance forms like 'Karakattam,Mayilattam,Arjuna Nritham,Puli Kali,

Amman Kudam,Kavadiyattam' etc.
Almost all varieties of folk art forms of Kerala participates in the 'Athachamayam' procession which is well enjoyed by the spectators.
'Athachayam' was a traditional event used to be held from very olden period of the Maharajahs.The Kochi (Cochin) Maharajahs used to conduct a colorful march with ceremonial robes and accompaniment of military to 'Thrikkakara Vamana Temple' from Thrippunithura Palace  and was famous as 'Athachamayam'.The annual festival of Thrkkakara Vamana temple starts on the same 'Atham asterism' day and concludes after ten days  on 'Thiruvonam' day'.It is also believed that the place where  Thrikkakara temple exists at present was the site where   Lord Mahavishnu sent Mahabali to 'Patalam'.
To commemorate the procession of the Maharajah to Thrikkakara a spectacular, cultural gala that marks the beginning of the Onam festival is conducted at the town of Thripunithura in the sme name as 'Athachamayam'.  
The Onam celebrations finishes with the 'Snake Boat Race' being held at Aranmula  on 'Uthrittathi asterism'day and the  world renowned spectacular event this year  is on 31st August 2015.  

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