Amid the pain of the floods and the dearth of the victims affected by recent natural calamities, Kerala celebrates Onam one of the most important events for Malayali Hindus spread across the world. Though people are rejoicing the festive mood, police are maintaining tight vigil with the army receiving information that there may be a terror attack in southern parts of the country.
The 10-day-long festival is observed during the month of Chingam, the first month in the Malayalam calendar, Kollavarsham. The festival usually falls between the months of August and September each year. However, the duration and the dates of celebration slightly vary from year to year on the Gregorian Calendar.
During the festival season, Thiruvonam is the most significant when all the relatives gather at the ancestral house and rejoice the gathering. Apart from arranging floral carpets elders in the house give others Onakkodi, new dresses as a gift. Historians say that in the olden days these new dresses were indeed a ‘gift’ while unlike today people rarely used to get fresh clothes. The traditional feast is another speciality of the day.
As a rampaging monsoon had claimed over 400 lives and destroyed houses and livelihood of people with many housed in relief camps, festivities were the last thing to come up in the minds of Keralites last year. The government organisations had cancelled official Onam celebrations. However, the central agencies are at a vigil following the intelligence reports of possible terrorist attacks in southern India.