Even a blazing Sun could not dampen enthusiasm of Keralaites who indulged in a "secular bash" as they celebrated Thiruvonam, the mother of all festivals, with traditional gaiety and fervour across the state on Tuesday.
The ten-day festivities peak on Thiruvonam, which is the second of the four Onam days that ends on Thursday.
And the highlight irrespective of caste,creed or religion is the traditional 26 dish Onam 'sadhya' (feast).
The sadhya especially, during Onam, has to be served on the banana leaf and in some places it’s partaken while sitting on the floor, reminiscing the olden style.
The 26 dish lunch includes chips, papads, various preparation of vegetables, a good number of pickles both sweet and sour, the traditional aviyal, sambar, dal curry served along with a small quantity of ghee, rasam, two different preparations of butter milk, a chutney powder prepared from grated coconut and not to mention a series of mouth watering payasams eaten either straight or mixed with a ripe small plantain.
But over the years, with every cultural activity in the state getting modified because of the hectic life, in actual practice, today it’s a rarity that the rule of serving the 26 dish Onam lunch gets actually prepared in Kerala homes.
In the big cities of the state, mostly families prefer to spend more time shopping than in the kitchens. This has been made use by select families who take orders for preparing Onam lunch and not to mention the hotels and restaurants make a killing with one Onam sadhya costing
Rs 300 upwards and at the big star hotels it can be as high as Rs 1500 and upwards.
Incidentally the only difference in the traditional lunch is, while in the northern districts of the state , there are non-vegetarian dishes, which is not there in the central and southern districts.
On Thiruvonam day, the state literarily is closed for all practical purposes and gets back to normalcy only next Monday.