Onam is a festival that holds a special place in the hearts of every Malayali. It is a time for families and friends to come together to celebrate the harvest season and the homecoming of the mythical King Mahabali. It is a time for feasting, dancing, and creating sweet, spicy, and sour memories that will last a lifetime.
The sweet memories of Onam are centered around the delicious traditional dishes that are prepared during the festival. From the mouth-watering sadya (feast) served on banana leaves, to the delectable payasam (sweet pudding) that is a must-have dessert, Onam is a time to indulge in the rich and flavorful cuisine of Kerala. The aroma of coconut, curry leaves, and spices fills the air as families come together to cook and feast on these delectable dishes, creating memories that will be savored for years to come.
Onam also brings with it the spicy memories of the vibrant and colorful festivities that take place during the festival. The traditional dance forms such as thiruvathirakali and pulikali are performed with great fervor, adding a burst of energy and excitement to the celebrations. The streets are adorned with intricate pookalam (flower carpets) that are made with vibrant and aromatic flowers, creating a mesmerizing sight that captivates all who witness it. These spicy memories of dance, color, and merriment add a dash of excitement and joy to the Onam celebrations.
In addition to the sweet and spicy memories, Onam also brings with it the sour memories of longing and nostalgia for those who are unable to return to their homeland to celebrate the festival. The songs and stories of King Mahabali, the aroma of the traditional dishes, and the sights and sounds of the festivities can evoke a sense of longing and homesickness for those who are away from Kerala during Onam. Yet, even in the midst of this bittersweet nostalgia, Onam serves as a reminder of the strong sense of community and culture that unites Malayalis across the globe, and the determination to keep the spirit of Onam alive, no matter the distance.
So, as we celebrate the festival of Onam, let us embrace the sweet, spicy, and sour memories that it brings. Let us savor the delicious flavors of the traditional dishes, dance and revel in the vibrant festivities, and cherish the connections and memories that tie us to our homeland. Onam is a time to create new memories and to honor the traditions and culture that make the festival so special. And though the festival may come to an end, the memories of Onam will linger on, filling our hearts with joy and nostalgia until the next year’s celebrations.