Kerala celebrates Onam with tight purse strings

Onam, the biggest shopping season of the State, did not support traders as much as it used to a few years ago.

There is an old Malayalam proverb ‘Kaanam vittum Onam Unnanam’ (You should not miss the Onam meal even if you have to sell your property for it). The proverb is coming true for many people in the State who are spending the last of their savings this Onam.

Everything is happening as usual.. Pookkalam competitions, Onam celebrations in offices and establishments, the famous ‘Uthrada Pachil’ on the day of ‘Onnam Onam’, the day before Thiruvonam, Onam offers and advertisements across media. But the expenses have been cut down drastically owing to the huge financial crisis induced by the coronavirus pandemic. Pookalams are smaller, Onakkodis are cheaper and the Onam Sadya has less number of dishes. Also the biggest shopping season of the State did not support traders as much as it used to a few years ago.

Onam was a low key affair the previous year, when COVID-19 had a firm grip on us. But ever since the struggle for livelihood won over the fear for life, thanks to the business community in the State, there is a sense of almost normalcy. It’s just that the smiles are hidden behind the masks that fail to hide the fear that everyone is desperately trying to overcome through the merriment of Onam.

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