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Onam

Subhadinam! That’s “ Good day!” in Malayalam. There’s a reason I chose to write in Malayalam today. It’s because we’re going to talk about Onam, an Indian festival!


Onam is a festival where you get together with friends ( or not because of something starting with C), eat sadya, put out flowers in a nice pattern, play games and have fun. Sadya is a huge feast where you eat rice, lots of curries such as sambar, koottu curry, pachadi, avial, rasam, etc. There is also a thing called achar, that is not really considered a curry, but you eat that in a sadyas too. Like most meals, there is also dessert. The dessert in a sadya is usually payasam. Payasam can come in many varieties. There is paal payasam, semiya payasam, paruppu payasam, etc. My personal favourite is paal payasam. Just to let you know, paal means milk.


Then there's the tradition to put out flowers for Onam. You go pick a variety of flowers and then either with friends or by yourself, you put them out in a circle pattern, like shown on your right-hand side. This is just a simple version. You can add many more patterns and colours and things to your one. You can also make yours bigger or smaller, depending on what you want and your resources. This year for Onam, I just did a small one with some colours here and there. Also, for your information, in Malayalam, pookalam means flowers.



There are lots of fun Onam games. There’s onappanthu, thalappanthu, ambaiyyal, cheettukali, etc. If you can't find activities you can do, you can create a few games yourself. At the start of this blog, I also mentioned how you have to have fun on Onam. But there’s a reason why. There’s a whole story behind Onam, like all festivals have. I quite like this story. It started from the dawn of time…


Ok, so first of all, let me clarify that this story isn’t really from the dawn of time. This story is actually a myth, but believing in it will make you happier. Anyway, long ago, there was a town in India. In this town, everyone was happy because they had a kind king, named King Mahabali. Everyone loved King Mahabali with all their hearts, and in return, King Mahabali was kind, caring and considerate towards everyone. However, as everyone was too busy with Mahabali, no one was showing much interest to the gods. This caused a ruckus between the gods. One of the gods went to another god named Vishnu, and made Vishnu go down to the human world and somehow get rid of Mahabali. Vishnu reluctantly did as told and went down to the human world, in the shape of a boy. As a little boy, he went up to the king and asked, “ King, I wish that if I take three steps, you shall allow me to keep the land of the steps I take. Shall you agree?” Vishnu asked. The king, seeing that it was merely a small boy, agreed. But then, Vishnu took his true, huge, powerful form and took the steps. In two steps, he managed to cover all of the king’s property. Seeing as there was no space left, the king said, “ I shall keep to my word. You may take your last step on me.” Vishnu sadly put his foot on the king’s head. But before the king was put into earth, the king asked, “ Lord, I have one wish. I wish to see my people once a year to know they’re ok.” Vishnu agreed, and finally, put the king deep into Earth. Now, Onam is the day the king comes to see us, so we believe we must stay happy so the king will be happy too. And that was the story behind Onam.


I hope you have seen what the base of Onam is like. Sometimes, at functions, there will be much more activity on Onam than I said in this blog. But this is mainly what I did this year, and I had lots of fun. I hope you do too next Onam. Bye!




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