Why is Pookkalam made during Onam Season?
Atham is an integral part of Onam celebrations
Atham is related to myth and Kerala folklore
Athachamayam of Thrippunithura
When was Onam and Athapoo decorations started?
Onam flowers associated with the season
Any Rules associated with preparing Pookkalam?
Disappearing sights of Pookoodas and Poovilikal
Adding one colour each per day
In some regions, there are choices of flowers also, and people often add different colours to salt and decorate them as flowers, which is not at all encouraged while preparing traditional athams. Scrapped coconut may be used as an alternative of white colour. But atham made using salt or coconut will be disqualified for atham competitions.
Atham competitions during Onam season
Floral decorations at Kovalam belt are very famous
Big planning is done to keep the competitions alive. On the Uthradam day (9th day) morning itself, they cover the site with plastic sheets and tents to cover the sight. Then more than 20-30 men work together for long 24 hours without sleep to prepare atham for the most auspicious Thiruvonam day. They make great sculptures out of clay, mostly related to Hindu tradition, festivals or deities and later decorate using flowers.
Kilos and Kilos of flowers and leaves may be needed to decorate athams of Kovalam-Vizhinjam belt. They choose colourful flowers like jamanthi (marigold/chameli), chrysanthemum, vadamalli/chendumalli (Bachelor’s Button), pine leaves etc which won’t fade easily. As competition of pookalams is huge, large quantities of flowers are imported from neighbouring states to Kerala during Onam season. Definitely it’s the harvest festival and spring season of Keralites, soon after heavy monsoons.