Athachamayam is the beginning of the Onam festival which is celebrated for ten-days in Kerala. It is an occasion to witness almost all the folk art forms of Kerala. The Aattachamayam Festival is held to honor the victory of the ruler of Kochi. Earlier, the king along with his followers would go to the Thripunithura Fort in a grand procession. He was extended a warm welcome by his matters. The matters would also get the privilege of meeting the king and relating with him at a personal level. Even though the king is not alive anymore, the exclusive procession is carried on to this day on the occasion of the celebration of the Aattachamayam Festival to honor him.
Athachamayam Festival and Celebration
This festival is held every year on the Atham month of the Malayalam calendar Chingam (Leo), the event held at the historical town of Thripunithura is a celebration of a legendary victory of the Raja (King) of Kochi. In olden days it was customary for the king to travel with his entire entourage to the Thripunithura fort. This was also the occasion for his subjects to greet the king and see him at close quarters. The procession, now without the king, still retains its majestic charm, and is conducted in a spectacular manner.
This is one of the very few festivals of Kerala which is celebrated with most number of cultural essences. Some of the folk art forms such as Theyyam, Kummatti, Kolkali, Mayilattom, Karakattom, Kummi, Poykal, Ammankudam, Pulikkali, Kathakali, Aattakkavadi, Panchavadyam, Chendamelam etc. are displayed in the parade. Floats depicting immortal moments from epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana and from the Bible as well as current social issues, reflect the all are equal environment of the festival, signifying unity and harmony. People relating the ancient times dress in the forms of gods and goddesses lend color and meaning to the event. There are also cultural competitions and variety entertainment activities held as part of the festival. Apart from the regular footpath vendors who deal with items from handicrafts and cottage sectors, a ten-day trade fair is also organized at Tripunithura.
In this festival caparisoned elephants, varieties of folk art forms, floats, and musical ensembles etc. are an integral part of the procession. The festival is marked by various festivities, including intricate flower carpets, elaborate banquet lunches, snake boat races, Onappottan, Kaazhchakkula in Guruvayoor, Puli Kali, Kaikottikkali, Kummaattikkali, Onathaar, Onachamayam, Onathallu, Thrikkaakarayappan, Thumbi thullal, Onavillu etc.