Nation Other News 03 Sep 2017 Onam comes twice for ...

Onam comes twice for Tuluvites of Kasargod

Published Sep 3, 2017, 1:30 am IST
Updated Sep 3, 2017, 1:30 am IST
Mahabali homecoming or ‘Poliyandram’ is celebrated with much gaiety in Tulu homes.
Tulu youth fix ‘palamaram’ to celebrate Poliyandram  during last Deepavali season.
 Tulu youth fix ‘palamaram’ to celebrate Poliyandram during last Deepavali season.

KOZHIKODE: The five-lakh-strong Tulu people of Kasargod have Onam twice a year. The first is the  traditional celebration of the home- coming of Mahabali during  Deepavali and the second  is  Keralites’ Onam, which they have adopted of late.  The home-coming of Mahabali, known as ‘Poliyandram’ or ‘Baliyandram,’ is celebrated with much reverence in Tulu homes. ‘Mahabali pooja’ is performed in  houses, temples and kavus.  Deepavali  in  the Malayalam month of Thulam is on the ‘Amawasi’ day (new moon day).  It  is called ‘Deep Bali’. To the Tuluvites, Mahabali who is welcomed on ‘Poliyandram’ is similar to God. The festival is on three days starting from Deepavali. 

Men must take bath in the morning, fast and get ‘palamaram’. It would be cut, and carried  on their shoulders  without using coir, barefooted. The tree is believed to have enormous power. A pole made out of the ‘palamaram’ is erected at the courtyard with 21 shafts fixed to it. After sunset, oil is poured into 21 coconut shells, kept on the shafts and wicks put into it are lit. It is a festival of light.  The family members throw rice from a plate chanting ‘‘poliyentra ariyo ari..’’and welcome Bali. It is ‘’Baliyentra..’’ among the Kannada or Tulu-speaking community. They also request Mahabali to “muppatte kaalathu nerathe vaa’’ (come early next year.). Lamps are lit near the well, courtyard, cowshed and other important spaces in the house. 


“The myth of both Onam and Baliyandram are same, but the time of welcoming Bali differs,” notes Dr Rathnakara Mallamoole, Kannada Assistant Professor at Government College, Kasargod. He says that Onam is increasingly entering the lives of Tulu people due to its commercial potential. “Tulu  youth consider  Onam as modern and Baliyandram as  old,” he observes. B. Purushotama,  president of Kannada Samanyuaya Samiti, agrees that Onam has entered  Tulu hearts through young people and the advertisement blitz created to sell Onam.


Location: India, Kerala