Flower arrangement of Indian origin is Pookalam. “Poo” means flower and “kalam” design in Malayalam. The flowers are laid out in beautiful patterns on the floor. Traditionally laying out Pookalam is a ritual practiced in every household during the fifteen-day-long Onam celebrations to welcome their beloved king Mahabali.
Lamps and lights are arranged all around the Pookalam. Different hues of flowers are used to prepare the Pookalam. Some highly skilled people make Pookalam, which look like a painting.
Picture2 – Designed and photographed by Sowmya .S.
Pookalam is colorful, eye catching, creative, which requires a team effort. Now-a-days, Pookalam designs are created on the computer and finalized to be laid out at home or at competitions that are held during this season. The diameter of a Pookalam can range from 4 to 5 meters.
Picture3 – Depicts Peace
During Onam, Pookalam laying starts from the first day of Onam and the size is increased everyday for 15 days. Thumba flower is considered very auspicious to be used during Onam.
Picture4 – Scenery of Kerala
The different types of flowers used are Thumba/e (Lucas Aspera), Kakka Poovu / Adike Hoovu (Gromphera), Thechipoovu, Mukkutti (little tree plant), Chemparathy (Hibiscus / shoe flower), Aripoo or Konginipoo (Lantana), Hanuman Kireedom (Red pagoda plant), Chrysanthamum, Asters, Marigold and Chethi / Ashoka (Ixora).
Picture5 – Geometric Pattern done to perfection, won the first prize during competition held during Onam in Bangalore, 2009
Feelings and sentiments are woven in the designs. Patriotic, nature, multi religion symbols, unity in diversity is all depicted in the designs.
Picture6 – Kathakali dancer’s face with representation of symbols of all religions
The 15th day of Onam is called as “Ayilyam” and the Pookalam is again decorated and the next day i.e, the 16th day known as Magam, the Pookalam is cut on the four corners with a knife. This marks the end of Pookalam decorations for Onam.
Picture7 – Pookalam Competition
Once the Pookalam is completed women in their traditional wear dance all around the Pookalam.
Picture8 – Geometric Patttern
Picture3 to Picture8 are contributed by Suma Shaiju.