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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Onam Customs and Rituals

The harvest festival of Kerala - Onam - is celebrated with zeal and great fanfare by Malayalees. It is an enthralling carnival during the festive season, when people indulge themselves in merrymaking by playing a number of games, shopping, feasting, dances and taking part in the community events wherein cultural programs are organized. Since it is a harvest festival, a number of rituals are followed by people, especially the farmers. The customs of Onam may vary from region to region, because people in the southern state of Kerala are known for the performance of rituals that are native to their place.

Maveli Puja
Maveli Puja is one of the prominent rituals of Onam. Specific to the Malabar (northern) part of Kerala, people residing there perform the Maveli Puja on the Uthradam (ninth day) and Thiruvonam (tenth day) of Onam. It is done in honour of King Mahabali who is also known as King Maveli. In order to perform the puja, three small sized figurines, made of red sand are erected, and these man-made idols are placed at the entrance in front of the house.. The puja is performed early in the morning as well as in the dusk, on all the ten days of the festival by the prominent man (generally the bread-winner) of the home. The three red sands are regarded as king Mahabali.The mounds are also called as 'Thrikkakara Appan'. The eldest member or the bread winner of the family usually performs the puja. After the puja ends, the male members of the family shout loudly rhythmically in joy. This weird ritual is called as 'Aarppu Vilikkukal'.

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