Malayalees embrace Onam sans festivities

Friday 24 August 2018 1:31 PM UTC

KOCHI Aug 24: No glitz. No glamour. With Kerala finding its feet again after crippling floods, the state will witness a toned-down Onam this time. In the face of the tragedy, major festival attractions like boat race, ‘pulikali’ and Onam celebrations of the state government and various organisations will be conspicuous by their absence.

Marketplaces too are missing the traditional hustle and bustle in the lead up to the state festival. The state government, having earmarked Rs 6 crore for cultural events across the state this Onam season, has decided to divert that amount to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF). Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran told Express the department has cancelled all its celebrations associated with the harvest festival.

“However, other events slated for the coming months will be staged if the situation and atmosphere are conducive enough to hold such programmes,” he said. Pulikali Ekopana Samithi secretary K V Kuttappan said they will not hold the ‘tiger dance’ in Thrissur with its full grandeur.  Instead, a parade of just five ‘tigers’ will be held as it is an age-old custom. Similarly, the state will miss its Onam regattas held in various parts of the state as most of the organisers have decided to donate funds to CMDRF to rebuild flood-hit regions.

Further, there is an unusual quietness in the city marketplaces at all times of the day after the floods.

It is as if the milling crowd that throng the shops on the eve of Onam days have disappeared and many of the markets in flood-hit regions wear a deserted look.

The flower market that usually does brisk business over a week-and-a-half in the run-up to Onam has suffered a big jolt as almost all major organisations have cancelled their ‘pookkalam’ competitions. Traders said city markets registered only 10 to 20 per cent sale on the eve of ‘Uthradam’ with people staying away from the celebrations.  So is the case with textiles shops and malls.

However, temples are conducting their Onam rituals, including in the Guruvayur Sree Krishna Temple where the ‘Kazhchakula’ and ‘Onapudava’ offerings will be held as usual, informed Guruvayur Devaswom.

CLICK TO FOLLOW UKMALAYALEE.COM