Onam 2021: The festival began on August 12 and will go till August 23.
Onam, the harvest festival of Kerala, is a grand yearly affair in the southern state. The 10-day-long festival is marked by the iconic Kerala sadya, with communities coming together to watch the snake boat race known as Vallamkali, dance and music performances and days of get-togethers with friends and family. This year, however, much like in 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has thrown a wrench in the celebratory plans of the state. Onam that began on August 12 and will go till August 23, will be celebrated in a sombre manner at best this year, as the fight against the virus continues.
As cases continue to rise unabated in the state, the Kerala government has opted for muted celebrations and gone the virtual route. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will formally inaugurate the virtual celebrations that will begin on August 14 and last the course of the festival.
Speaking about the same, State Tourism Minister PA Mohammed Riyas was quoted by news agency ANI as saying, "Events that introduce tourism destinations, art and culture, and food diversity will be conducted with the help of visual media,” adding that the Department of Tourism will also be hosting online competitions on the occasion. Through this, Malayalees across the world can be a part of the celebrations. For instance, the government is hosting a competition that will help choose the best flower decoration from the photos that can be submitted on the website of the Department of Tourism.
"In collaboration with the digital media and television channels, preference will be given to the traditional arts and thereby creating opportunities for artists,” Mr Riyas added.
With regard to the celebrations within the state, various security arrangements have been made and senior police officers and district police chiefs were briefed on Thursday, Kerala police chief Anil Kant said.
"Onam feast and other celebrations should be done inside the houses. Those who visit beaches and tourist points must ensure that they comply with all COVID-19 regulations," he said. In addition to this, the department will also be carrying out strict night patrols during the Onam period.