Onam celebrations – pookkalam, sadya, tug of war and cutural programs

4 Sep 2017, Onam celebrations, Amritapuri Ashram

For the last ten days, as per the tradition of the Onam harvest festival, the entire state of Kerala has been ordained with lush, beautiful flower mandalas.

At Amritapuri, each day the floral decoration in front of Amma’s room was unique. Each day, the beautiful arrangement depicted a different scene from the life of Sri Krishna. Each one seemed more beautiful than the last, and yet in truth, none could be said to be the most beautiful – each day, in that moment, that mandala was the most beautiful, and the love with which it had been arranged shone through and lent it that much more beauty and luster.

Traditionally, one spends the final day of Onam at home with the family. But every year, countless families choose to spend the day with their spiritual family and the mother they all share at Amma’s Ashram. That morning, Amma gave a Satsang and led all in meditation and prayers for world peace to all those who had gathered to celebrate Onam with Amma. “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam is the Indian concept that the whole world is one family. The celebration of Onam is closely aligned with this truth. The earth and the sky, the flowers, birds and animals—all of Nature come together as one family and participates in this celebration.” {read more from Amma’s Onam message}

Then, Amma led all the assembled devotees in blissful dance to the tune of ti thi tara th thi tai…

After giving a brief darshan for those who would not otherwise have a chance to receive her embrace, Amma began serving the traditional OnaSadya feast to one and all. Finally, she fed Lakshmi, the ashram elephant.

The ashramites played tug-of-war to the amusement of all. First with two groups of brahmacharis battling each other, then Amma called on the “Aachans” (elderly male devotees) to do the same and finally the brahmacharinis. Amma enjoyed the show along with all those assembled.

In the evening, Amma led bhajans which were followed by beautiful, entertaining and uplifting cultural programs, including many dances and skits, including riveting classical dance and a heartwarming play by the littlest residents of Amritapuri.

The program concluded only at 1:00 am that night. All went to bed with joy in their hearts, having been blessed to spend Onam with Amma and all their spiritual brothers and sisters in a celebration of unity and love.