Nostalgic Pookalam

Shreya V Arun, IIK Young Reporter
Monday, August 28, 2017

Onam, the festival of culture and heritage is a commemorative event celebrated in the state of Kerala .The festival falls in the month of Chingam according to the Malayalam calendar. The festival relates the Mythology of Hinduism through King Mahabali and Vamana.

Onam marks the summer harvest and is associated with numerous other events such as Pulikali ,Thiruvathirakali ,decorating floral carpet also called “Athpookalam”,Thumbi Thullal , Athachamayam , Onathepan and many more. The type of events differs from one district to the other.

The arrangement of the Athapookalam begins on the first day of Onam, named Atham. This ritual of arranging the floral carpet continues for the next ten days, that is till the day of “Thiruvonam”,the main day of the occasion . Only the basic design is prepared on the first day. Its size is increased on the following days, making the floral carpet look mighty on Thiruvonam.

Different flowers are decided for the making of “Athapookalam” on each day. The ground is first prepared by sprinkling water and the use of cow dung makes the particular circular shape for the “Athapookalam”,to fix the flowers tightly on the ground.

Some commonly used flowers for making the flower carpet are:



Thumba Poovu:
The dominancy of Thumba poovu in the pookalam lies in the glittering feature along with its small size.

Chemparathy poovu or The shoe flower :
The incarnadine colour makes it look very impressive on the pookalam.

Hanuman Kereedam flower :
The highly attractive red and orange colours makes this flower add more
colour to the pookalam.

Chethi poovu :
The easy availability and the stunning red colour of this flower plays a major role in pookalam.

Shankupushpam:
Attractive colours such as blue top and yellow in the core makes this flower very special on the pookalam.

Jamanthi poovu or Chrysanthemum:
The most appealing feature of this flower is the variation in colours such as red,white,yellow,orange.

Kongini poovu:
The traditional yellow and orange colours of the flower is an inseparable part of pookalam.

Kakkapoo:
This five petal yellow thorny flower with dark brown colour in the
centre adds more beauty to the pookalam.

Mukutti Flower:
The deep yellow shade of this flower makes it a very special part in the pookalam.

The making of the “Athapookalam” projects the team effort and feeling of togetherness. May the tradition of Onam pass on through generations with the same freshness and fragrance of the flowers.

Shreya V Arun
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