What is Atham ? , Atham meaning , Significance of Atham in Onam .
The first day of Onam is Atham. Atham marks the start of celebrations of the ten day festivity of Onam. This day is believed to be the day when King Bali starts his preparation to visit his Kingdom.
On Atham, the rituals start with taking a head bath and offering prayers to God. The breakfast during the ten day festivity is also fixed and it is steamed Bananas and fried Papad (Papadam). On Atham swings are tied and ladies normally enjoying swinging along with singing songs.
Another important ritual of Atham and Onam is Pookalam also known as Athapoo. Pookalam is nothing but a design with the flowers on the floor of the courtyard or main hall, it is like a flower mat. The colors of the flowers used to make the Pookalam are chosen to please the deity of each day of Onam. The flower designing is done every day and is completed only on the tenth day. Each day the new colored flowers are added to the previous days design. Competitions are also organized in Pookalam.
One more important ritual of Atham is the Athachamyam, the grand procession , which is also a mark of beginning the Onam celebrations. The process was a custom of the kings to travel from the Thripunithura Fort to the Thrikkakara Temple, with all their elephants and soldiers. Today also this custom is followed with Elephant processions, music and dancing, folk arts etc as a part of Athachamyam.
Kerala is filled with the fun and fervor of Onam. Onam is one festival which every person would want to celebrate to the maximum.