The celebrations are better and bigger this time as the most important day of the 10-day festival, Thiruvonam, falls tomorrow, a Friday and the occasion has arrived after the fasting month of Ramadan following a gap of few years.
From supermarkets and shopping centres, to restaurants and jewellery shops, hundreds of commercial outlets, mainly those catering to the Indian community, have come up with various Onam offers and plans.
Keralites, or Malayalees as they are also known, are flooding the stores to make purchases for the festival which is celebrated by all members of the community irrespective of their religion.
Onam is celebrated to mark the mythical homecoming of King Mahabali, during whose reign the state known as ‘God’s Own Country’ is said to have witnessed the golden era. People of Kerala welcome the king in a symbolic way by arranging flower carpets and with traditional dances and games so as to give him the impression that they are happy as in his time.
They wear new, traditional outfits and jewellery and also prepare the sumptuous Onasadhya, the grand feast that forms the most important part of the celebration. Served on banana leaves, a typical Onasadhya will include more than a dozen items along with rice, all made of freshly imported vegetables from India.
According to reports from Kerala, the state has imported nearly 5,000 tonnes of vegetables worth Dh12.75 million for Onam celebrations in the Gulf countries. Banana leaves and vegetables are being imported from Oman, as well.
Malayalees living in the Gulf countries are known for their elaborate Onam celebrations which will go on throughout the month of Chingam, and sometimes even later.
Mega events, television shows and radio programmes are part of their celebrations.