The tradition of onam has moved from a grand festivity to lonely onam in cities these days. Try out these onam crafts & activites to bring up the festive spirit.
As a child, I loved onam more so because of the long holiday and also because of the onam sadya and payasam. Onam was the only day in our lives when we used to have elaborate lunch on plantain leaf and it used to be so much fun. While our mother toiled in kitchen to make different variety dishes, we three sisters would be busy making onam pookkalam and improvising on it till afternoon! Those were the days!
Today as I grew up and I am so much away from home, place where Onam doeasnt mean anything, I struggle to bring that enthusiasm that we had as children on Onam. In our first year of Onam here in Kolar, myself and my husband stayed till midnight checking out recipies on internet and making several dishes not because we had any guests but just for the sake of it. It was graces first Onam as well so I handstiched a dress for her and these are the only pics I have of it!
For the second onam we kept aside elaborate cooking becasue grace had grown up and would let me be for long time in kitchen! We went for pookkalam on all three days and yet again I have only this single picture to prove it :P!
This Onam I did not plan anything. Things were quite busy at office and so I rarely did have time to even purchase flowers for tomorrow! This time as well I might end up with just pookkalam. Anyways, talking about remembering goodtimes and celebrating onam in different ways, at home away from home, here are a few onam crafts & activities to cherish the onam memories of past 🙂
1.Read the story behind Onam with your kids :
More often it so happens that we are so engrossed in making preperations for celebrations that we forget what actually we are doing it all for afterall! Sit with your kids and watch this little video on the mythological story behind Onam celebration and the traditions that were followed as onam celebration. I myself havent seen kaikottikali or pulikkali myself but its nice to know about them.
2.Making pookkalam :
What is Onam without pookkalam? The heart of Onam lies in pookkalam and sadya 😀 Even if not elaborate, take some time to pick flowers and sit along with your family to put a small pookkalam. If not for photos to upload on insta, do these to make memories 🙂 You can read my previous article on how to put pookkalam designs for competitions and also small designs for homes.
3.Making Onam sadya :
Agreed that you really cant make big sadya especially if you are like me and do not know cooking 😛 These days in Kerala you can order kerala sadya parcel and thats a cool way but here unfortunately nothing like that 🙁 The least you can do is to make pappadam and payasam 🙂 Not too much but just a little to make it special 🙂 And if you really want to make elaborate onam sadya, here is a link to Onam recipies from Padhus Kitchen. Oh by the way did you know there is payasam icecream? I saw an advertisement on TV yesterday!
4.Onam crafts : Making onam cards :
Wish your loved ones a very happy onam not by forwarding whatsapp infographics to groups but by sending your on handmade simple cards through post. I sent out couple of cards to my friends last month and they were so happy that I rememebered them . Draw a pookkalam design thats easy and fill colors in. If you are talented enough, you could even try kathakali mask image in the card but for me, its just a simple pookkalam 🙂 Tutorial for a kathakali onam card is here.
5. Making decorative door thorans :
Sit down and make some special onam crafts this festive season especially since it follows navrathri and diwali soon 🙂 Thorans arent really a part of onam celebrations but when you have a flower carpet / pookkkalam to adorn the floor, its only fair to decorate the top with thorans 🙂 Try these DIY festive thorans with craft papers that you can hang till Diwali and give a festive look to your home.
6.Make DIY tiger masks/ pulikali masks for your kids :
Pulikali is a form of folk art generally practised in Thrissur area inKerala. Pulikali basically is a street dance performance where many characters act as tigers (Puli) by painting their belly with bright yellow, red and black stripes in resemblance to the tiger and they are being hunted by a hunter. I found this lovely tutorial on making these pulikali masks as onam crafts on a blog and you can check it out here.
7.DIY mini pookkalam cookies :
I bumped across these mini pookkalam cookies while searching for pookkalam patterns and they are so cute to be ignored! Not just pookkalam , she has given a very nice tutorial to make cookies resembling icons of kerala such as palm tree and kasavu mundu. You should try these too 🙂
8.Kathakali face lamps :
Isnt it fun to have a kathakali faced night lamp? Im sure it would set the right celebration mood at home and also give a touch of mallu ethnicity 🙂 The tutorial for the kathakali lamp onam crafts is right here if you wanna give it a try.
9. Make your own decorative nettipattam :
This isnt a tutorial link but then I think I will try making these with ball chain and leave a link later. But in anycase you should check out this link – they have pictures on how they make the real one. Nettipattam is by the way a decorative ornament to be worn on the face of elephants especially when they are being take out for procession as a part of temple pooja etc. Its another tradition symbol of kerala and will definitely be a good activity for Onam.
10.Make earrings to match kerala saree :
This is an activity for fashion and accessories obsessed people like me 😛 I am sharing a video to make paper quilled jhumkas below and a photograph of jhumka to match kerala saree. You can use similar color paper and follow this video to make your own paper quilled khumka to match your kerala saree this onam 🙂
Hope you have a lovely onam 🙂