Onam celebrations see the making of pookalam or athapookalam, a rangoli made with fresh flowers in various intricate designs. As the Onam festivities draw to a close with Thiruonam, here’s what to know about the importance of pookalam which is also called pookolam.
Pookalams are generally circular in shape.
‘Poo’ stands for flower and ‘Kolam’ stands for decorative designs or rangoli. Made using fresh flowers and petals, pookalams are designed at home and around public places in the honour of King Mahabali who is believed to return to his people every year.
The legend goes that as per the boon granted by Lord Vishnu’s avatar Vamana, King Mahabali who was sent to the Nether World or Pataal Lok, could only pay a visit to his kingdom and people annually. Therefore, to celebrate his return, people put floral carpets or pookalam.
What does it have?
While a traditional pookalam consists of 10 flowers, people nowadays are said to use all kinds of flowers which are available in the market to make multiple rings which are dedicated to several deities.
As per tradition, it is said that each of the floral ring is dedicated to deities namely Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi, their sons Ganesha and Kartikeya, Lord Brahma, Vamana Avatar of Lord Vishnu, and King Mahabali.
It is said that the floral patterns have profound meaning.
The festival of Onam is a harvest festival celebrated in the month of Chingam and lasts for 10 days. The festival comprises numerous fun activities like Vallam Kali (boat races), Pulikali (tiger dances), Onathappan (worship), during these 10 days. A festive spread in the form of Onam Sadhya is a must-have part of the celebrations.
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