Pookkalam, also known as Athapookalam or Onapookkalam, is a traditional floral design created on the floor during the harvest festival of Onam in Kerala, India. Onam is one of the most important festivals celebrated in Kerala and falls in the Malayalam month of Chingam, which typically corresponds to August or September.
Pookkalam is an integral part of the Onam celebrations and is considered a way of welcoming King Mahabali, the legendary ruler associated with Onam, who is believed to visit Kerala during this time. The floral designs are made in front of houses and public spaces as a symbol of prosperity, happiness, and unity.
Creating a Pookkalam is a collaborative activity, where families and communities come together to design intricate and colorful patterns using various flowers and petals. The designs are often circular in shape and can range from simple to highly elaborate, depending on the skills and creativity of the participants.
During the ten days of Onam celebrations, the Pookkalam is made progressively larger, adding new layers and designs each day until the final day of Thiruvonam. People also participate in various cultural activities like folk dances, boat races, and traditional games during this period.
Pookkalam is not only a beautiful artistic expression but also carries cultural and social significance, emphasizing the spirit of togetherness and the harmony of nature. It is a joyous celebration of the bond between humans and nature, making Onam a cherished and widely celebrated festival in Kerala.