Onam will be celebrated across Navi Mumbai with great enthusiasm even though it falls on a Monday. Apart from getting together for celebrations in Kerala Samajams in various nodes of the city, Malayalees will have a traditional and happy celebration within the family as well.
Apart from being the harvest festival, Onam is celebrated in honour of King Mahabali, whose rule in Kerala is believed to be a glorious one with all the people living happily. It is also believed that he returns from the underworld to see his people living a good life.
“The Pookalam which is the colourful arrangement of different flowers is done in order to welcome him,” said Priya Krishnaprasad, a resident of CBD-Belapur adding, “It is made with whatever flowers are available in the market in the season. I place a lotus in the centre, surrounded by tumbai, rose, chrysanthemum, aster, marigold and jasmine flowers.”
People start with preparations for the main festival many days in advance, shopping for necessities required for the festival. Sheela Ravindran, a resident of Kharghar said, “Traditional wear is a must on this day and so, we buy it from Kerala beforehand. While women wear Settu sari, girls wear pavadai and blouse.
Gents wear mundu veshti (lungi). Also, making preparations for the Sadya feast begins early as it is a grand affair. I prepare 10 items and we always have friends and family members coming over to relish the traditional dishes.”
Another important aspects of Onam are the traditional dance forms like Kaikotti Kali or Thiruvathirai Kali, Kummi and Tumbi Thullal. Dini Surendran, a resident of Kharghar said, “The dance is something that all the girls learn naturally by seeing their mothers.
I have been participating in the Thiruvathirai Kali dance for the past ten years in our samaj. We form even-numbered groups and dance and clap around in circles. It is a slow dance with easy movements in order to bring out the femininity and elegance of a woman.”
Malayalees frequent Ayyappa temples with their family to seek the lord’s blessings. Keshav Nair, a resident of Vashi said, “I always make it a point to go to the Ayyappa temple in Nerul with my family on Onam. Not only because the festivities and puja are grand in the temple but because I feel enriched after seeking the lord’s blessings.”