29 August 2008

Onam Wishes: Onapookkalam Art

Onam is the biggest festival in the Indian state of Kerala. Onam Festival falls during the Malayali month of Chingam (Aug - Sep, 12th sep'2008) and marks the homecoming of legendary King Mahabali. Carnival of Onam lasts for ten days and brings out the best of Kerala culture and tradition. Intricately decorated Pookalam, ambrosial Onasadya, breathtaking Snake Boat Race and exotic Kaikottikali dance are some of the most remarkable features of Onam - the harvest festival in Kerala.
Poo - means flower. Kalam means special shape. Pookalams (flower mats) are usually circular in shape.

Onapookkalam is made of various kinds of flowers. Commonly used flowers include Thumba (Lucas Aspera), Kakka Poovu, Thechipoovu, Mukkutti (little tree plant), Chemparathy (shoe flower), Aripoo or Konginipoo (Lantana), Hanuman Kireedom (Red pagoda plant) and Chethi (Ixora). Of all these flowers, Thumba flowers are given more importance in Pookkalam as they are small in size and glitter in the soft rays of the sun.

'Thumba Poo' is also considered to be the favourite flower of Lord Shiva and King Mahabali was a devout worshipper of Shiva.

Various societies and business groups all over the state organize Pookalam decoration competitions (Creating abstract patterns with petals, the floral carpet competition) on the day of Onam.

Big prizes are also offered in these contests as they have turned up to be extremely competitive events. Recently, people prepare intricate designs first on computer and then implement it on floor. This saves a lot of time and energy and helps the designers to come up with stunning Pookalams.

Here are some of the very famous Onapookkalam/Pookalam:

(image source:bollybite.com)

To know more about ONAM and Onapookkalam visit:

1) Onam
2) Onamfestival
3) Onam:Carnival of Kerala
4) Onam: Cards and Greetings
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