Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Onam Pookkalam - Floral designs and rules of a harvest festivaI event in Keralam, south India

Onam Pookalam /Onam Pookkalam - Images and photo ideas of Floral Designs. Talk about Onam in Kerala, the southern most state in India and one of the first images that come to mind is that of the flower bed or floral arrangements known as Pookkalam or Athapookalam. The traditional Ona-pookalam usually consists of ten rings indicating the ten day ritual during the ten day celebrations of Onam which begins on Atham and ends on Thiru Onam in the month of Chingam (August – September). 


Onam Pookalam: In Malayalam, meaning of the poo is flower and kalam is drawing or artwork done in front of the house. Therefore, it is the artwork done by fresh flowers in front of the house. It is one of the main attractions of onam. It starts 10 days before (called atham) and ends on Onam. There will be a pookalam In front of each house of Kerala on Onam.

All over Kerala we can see kids roaming around with flower baskets to collect the flowers for it, during this season. It will help to create natural awareness about flowers and colors in the kids. When a kid searches for a certain colored flower to make it, he watches the flowers, nature, birds etc.

Pookalam competition /events: Many malayalee associations are organizing competitions in every year, with the sponsorship of big business Establishments. Almost all malayalee associations in different parts of the world including Singapore, USA, UK, Australia and Middle East will be conducting Pookalam competition along with their Onam celebration. Different teams headed by one or two artists will be competing in these competitions.

Rules of Pookkalam: The rules of the will change as per the nature of organization conducting the competition, as some organization may allow displaying sponsor names where as others may not allow it. However, there are some common rules to be followed in these competitions
Materials:  Teams can use only fresh flowers and leaves to make the Pookalam. They should not use the sawdust, shredded coconut, and artificial colors. If requested by the judges, they should show and prove the materials used in it. Colors of the flowers should not enhance by using the artificial colors. If any team is using any of the above practices, it will lead to disqualification of their team.

Big flowers: Teams should use sepals of flowers only. They should not use the whole flowers. Even if you are creating the same flower itself, you must separate the sepals and keep it back. Sepals of the flowers may cut in to the small pieces. Using whole flowers, instead of sepals to make it will lead to disqualification of the team.

Place: They should make it on the place provided by the organizers. Making it on a paper or on a pre-drawn board will lead to immediate disqualification. However, teams can use a pre-drawn paper or drawings, and transfer the drawings to the place provided by organizers.

Discipline: A team should be disqualified, if any of the team members intentionally disturb or mess up the area allotted to other teams,

Traditional Decorations: Teams can keep Nirapara (Indian style measuring cup), Nilavilakku (in style lamp) and/or any other traditional materials to increase the appearance and traditional value of it. However, they must keep these things according to the traditional way and at the correct corner. They may lose points if you keep Nirapara and Nilavilakku in the wrong side of it.

Theme: The theme can be an art with Indian cultural value, or kalam itself. The theme can carry negative points (instead of positive points), to discourage them from using themes which is not suitable for the occasion. This will encourage the artist to select broad and diversified themes without worrying for points. Theme can also reflect the nature of the organization or the area of interest they are involved in. (If you restrict the theme to Kerala, all themes will be of Kathakali, Mohinyattam (Kerala Cultural dances) and Vallam Kali (Kerala boat race), which will take away the beauty and diversity of it)

Artistic value: Consider this point is for the artist who has designed it.

Nowadays many pookkalams concentrate more on the design part and in the process the ten rings are avoided. The pookkalams mainly concentrate on the various cultural aspects of Kerala and on the Onam myth.

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