The ''Onam'' Festival of 2021 is a muted one in Kerala due to COVID -19-

Happy Onam 2021.

Flowwer (Poo) Kolam, Onam festival, Kerala.

My Onam greetings to all. 

As COVID-19 has not yet come  down to a much safer level, as in the past year, the popular festival of Kerala - Onam  will be celebrated virtually; may be devoid of all the fun associated with it.   The Kerala state government took a serious decision in view of the safety of the people.  Large gatherings of people will spike the infection. This famous festival will normally attract a sea of people from  across Kerala and elsewhere  and large gathering would be unavoidable. 

The  famous Thrissur Poorum festival, held  (April-May) close to the Vadakkunathan temple,  is normally   held on a grand scale with elephant procession, music, pomp and pageantry. One could see a sea of humanity right before the temple in the past prior to 2019. This Poorum festival was a low key affair  this year by the government in view of COVID 19 pandemic. 

Onam festival, Kerala.

This annual Onam festival that falls in the month of August - September (Malayalam month of Chingam)  is more of a socio-cultural  one than  a temple festival. It is a new year day for the Malayalee Hindus living all over the world.  From the Hindu mythological point of view it marks the visit of King Mahabali who had been pushed  to the nether world (Pathal) by Lord Vishnu. God finally blessed him with immortality and allowed him to visit his land - Kerala.  

This year the virtual celebration will be formally inaugurated by the Chief Minister on 14 August. Virtual celebration implies  Kerala's food, art, culture, and favorite tourist destinations would be showcased virtually with the help of visual media and other means. It is part of the  government’s new drive to avoid COVID infection that can spread fast through crowds. The government has a proposal to develop unexplored tourist spots and a separate app will be available. This year as part of Onam festival, World Flower Arrangement Competition will be arranged. Malayalees desirous of participating in the Onam Pookolam (flower decoration) competition will have to register on line and the registration has been on since 10th August. Participants can upload their onam pookalam  on the tourism department's digital platform.

This year the Onam celebration is a muted one because of the prevalence of second wave of COVID -19. This colorful festival is a joyous on, full of  fun and frolics, but all will be missing as people have to confine themselves at home watching the Onam activities virtually.  They will miss events like Vallam Kali (boat races), Pulikali (tiger dances), Thumbi Thullal, etc.  

For most Keralite families, the highlight of Onam is get-together with family members and friends and participating in the long-drawn festivities. An important part is to visit the nearby Sri Krishna temple. Yet another sad  reality is for Keralites  it has been a tradition to visit the ancestral home in Kerala and be with members of the family including elders and in the last two years relations have avoided  visiting elders in the family  for fear of being  carriers of infection. As they are quite vulnerable, at risk will be their health. (for further reading refer to my post at