The state of Kerala is abuzz with people gearing to celebrate Onam, the ten-day harvest festival of Kerala, also national festival of Kerala. During the festival days, it is a cultural tradition for Keralites that in the 10 days leading upto Onam festival, every house creates a 'pookalam' or flower pattern in their courtyards or in front of their houses.
The pookalam on the first day of the festival is called pookalam 'Athapoo'. At many places even pookalam competitions are held during the festival days. As per the tradition, a fresh pookalam is made every day, both growing in size and intricacy. The first day of the festival is called Atham and the last day, Thirvonam. The pookalam made on the last day of the festival is quite large and complex.
According to the Kerala Tourism department, Pookalam is the hallmark of Onam festival. Kerala Tourism has produced 600 amazing video clips on the spirit of Kerala and some of them depict floral designs as well. "Festivals are true celebrations in God's own country; occasions when grandeur prevails over the characteristic simplicity of the Kerala lifestyle. Be it the state festival of Onam or the one at a local place of worship, new attire and sumptuous feasts are a must for celebrations," states the Kerala Tourism website.
After the designing of Pookalam pattern is complete, it is treat to the human eye, as it resembles a carpet, which has been made out of gathered blossoms in different shades of yellow. Various kinds of foliage with differing tints pinched up into little pieces aree also used to make the designs look more attractive.
The size of pookalam on the first day is small in size and simple in design. Generally, the design is made on a paper first and then on the ground. Simple designs consist of one or two inner small circles with some lotus like petals and one or two outer rings.