On Aug. 28th, 2015, my family and I celebrated Onam, the biggest festival in the southern Indian state of Kerala.
It is in honor of a king named Mahabali, who ruled Kerala and made Kerala feel like heaven. According to Indian mythology, the gods worried that his kingdom would become a better place than theirs. Lord Vishnu, in his Vamana Avatar, banished him from his kingdom forever. However, since he was one of the greatest rulers who kept his subjects happy, he was granted the wish to visit them once a year. To celebrate the arrival of their beloved king, everyone has a big feast, and makes designs on the floor using flower petals, leaves, buds, and stems. This celebration lasts 10 days during which nature is on it’s a-game.
Me, my mother, and my little brother made a phenomenal flower design. It is in the form of a Kathakali, which is an ancient Indian dance form. The dancer wears lots of jewelry and the expression is using eyes and fingers. We used many colors of flower petals to make it very complex and grand. To make it, we first removed all the petals from all the flowers. Then, we used chalk and drew the design on the floor. Finally, we used the petals, buds and leaves to fill the design. I even cut some stems to spell “Happy Onam!”
We also had a big grand feast, and invited family friends over for dinner. The feast is equivalent to a vegetarian Thanksgiving. The preparation is very extensive with many types of curries. The food is served on a banana leaf. You can see all the pictures on my Flickr album. Though it is too late to post this blog, I wish everyone a Happy Onam.