Simbly Traditional! Simbly Cultural! Simbly Onam
Onam Unnan Bhagyam Veenam! Simbly Traditional! Simbly Awesome! Simbly Onam- Celebrated with Zeal and Gaiety in the City
Mangaluru: “Life becomes a festival when gaiety and culture blend. Onam delivers the message of both.”- and this quote became reality as “Onam Feast” was celebrated with zeal and gaiety at various parts in the City. Onam is a big Feast in Kerala where high-spirited Keralites celebrate it with gaiety and fervor. The festival is celebrated for a period of ten days, starting from the first day Atham and continuing till tenth and the biggest day called Thiru Onam. And in the Education Hub-Mangaluru, where there are large number of students from Kerala, the celebration of Onam Feast takes place every year at their respective campuses , and this year was no exception either.
Onam is that time of the year when the cultural ethos of Kerala is in full vigour. No doubt that Onam is the biggest festival of Kerala. But, there is a lot more to Onam than being just a festival. Onam reflects the faith of the people of Kerala; A belief in their legendary past, religion and power of worship. It shows the high spirit of the people who go out of the way to celebrate the festival in the prescribed manner and a grand fashion. Onam awaits one very special visitor, Kerala’s most loved legendary King Maveli. He is the King who once gave the people a golden era in Kerala. The King is so much attached to his kingdom that it is believed that he comes annually from the nether world to see his people living happily. It is in honour of King Mahabali, affectionately called Onathappan, that Onam is celebrated. And Keralites all over the world celebrate this feast with fervor and gaiety.
Pookalam at Mount Carmel Central School
Pookalam at AJ Shetty Hospital and Research Centre
Womenfolk make special arrangements to welcome Onathappan. Flower carpets are laid in the front courtyards with dedication and full sincerity. A grand meal is prepared on the day of Thiru Onam. It is on this day that Maveli’s spirit visits Kerala. One of the most marvelous facets of Onam is the unfolding of its rich and well-established culture. We see not just glimpses but a whole gamut of it in the ten-day-long carnival. Pulikali, Kaikottikali, Kummattikalli, Kathakali, Thumbi Thullal besides several other folk arts and traditions can be seen on one platform called Onam. The beauty of the festival lies in it’s secular fabric. People of all religions, castes and communities celebrate the festival with equal joy and verve. Onam also helps to create an atmosphere of peace and brotherhood by way of various team sports organised on the day. Onam is the passion of the people of Kerala. And, pride of India!
Various traditional competitions were conducted such as ‘pookalamalsaram’ (floral mat) and ‘vadamvali’ (tug of war) as well as various other games around the City. High point of the day was the enormous lunch called Onam Sadya. People of Kerala are extremely passionate about this. Even if they cannot easily afford, they will anyhow prepare the meal inclusive of all the 11-13 prescribed dishes. This has lead to the saying in Malayalam, “Kanam Vittu Onam Unnanam” which means, “We should have the Thiruonam lunch even if we have to sell all our properties” . But the biggest “Onam Sadya” like every took place at Shanti Nilaya Hall-Balmatta hosted by Simbly South multi-cuisine restaurant, where hungry food-buffs dined on 26 different types of dishes – Bon Apetit!
Speaking to Team Mangalorean at the ‘Onam Sadya’ venue- a medical student of AJ medical College, hailing from Kerala said, ” “We celebrate Onam to commemorate a glorious past. All of us yearn for a time like that of King Mahabali, a time when prosperity, joy and love blended. But in order to realize this dream we need to put forward creative and sustained effort.” Another friend of hers said, ” “We have lost the true spirit of Onam. Let each of our actions be a yajna for universal good. May the new clothes we wear be that of Dharma and faith. May our hearts be united in love and joy, and make life an everlasting Tiruvonam. Thus we can retrieve the lost Onam.”
One family in Mangaluru hailing from Kerala celebrate Onam in true tradition and culture, and I was invited this year to their Onam breakfast comprising of Kerala favorites, along with a special Kerala style Chicken curry meticulously prepared by Krishnappa adding a touch to the rest of the veg menu. Krishnappa, a environmentalist and his family residing in the Housing Development Layout-near Bondel, celebrated Onam by performing early morning Pooja, creating a colorful Pookalam, and getting ready for the festive lunch. I had a nice time amidst this Kerala origin family, and also learned about the history of Onam.
Restaurants in the area were offering Onam food specials. Onam means different things to different people, even if there is a common thread in the celebrations. But the mega “Onam Sadya” by Simbly South comprised of 26-odd-vegetarian items namely Sarakar Upperi, Ethaka Chips, Puli Inchi, Naranga Achar, Manga Achar, Oolan, Avial, Pachadi, Pineapple Pachadi, Thoran, Kootu Curry, Eressery, Thiyal, Chore, Parippu, Neyyu, Pappadam, Sambhar, Pazham, Rasam, Mor, Parippu Prathaman, Palada Prathaman, Semiya Payasam, among others. But I heard that there are sadya lovers who say that except for the pickles, the other dishes don’t have much spice which prompts the people in Malabar region to opt for non-veg dishes too. And nearly 800 people feasted on this ‘Onam Sadya” as per Gopi Damodar , the Manager at Simbly South.
On behalf of Team Mangalorean I would like to convey Onam wishes to our beloved readers, “Ella Malayalikalum Onam Unnanam! Hope this Onam brings in good fortune and abounding happiness to you! Wish you and your family a frivolous Onam! May this Feast be the forerunner of good luck and joyfulness and may it bring you joy, that lasts all year! May the spirit of Onam remains everywhere – in whatever you do, whatever you think and whatever you hope in your life. We wish you all a very Happy Onam….enjoy the festival with lovely Onam wishes and Onam Greetings…”
I end this column with thought-provoking words from Translation of popular quote: “Maaveli Naadu Vaanidum Kalam.”
“When Maveli, our King, ruled the land,
All the people had equality.
And people were joyful and merry;
They were all free from harm.
There was neither anxiety nor sickness,
Death of the children was never even heard of,
There were no lies,
There was neither theft nor deceit,
And no one was false in speech either.
Measures and weights were right;
No one cheated or wronged his neighbor.
When Maveli, our King, ruled the land,
All the people formed one caste-less race.”