Kochi, Sep 4 It was "Atham" day in its traditional glory on Sunday in Thripunithura, near here, signalling that Kerala is ready to celebrate Onam.
The Atham is held 10 days before the most important Onam event the "Thiru Onama" which this year falls on September 14.
The highlight of Atham celebrations was the grand procession, inaugurated by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, commemorating the royal custom of the erstwhile state of Kochi when it was customary for the ruler to travel with his entire entourage to the Thripunithura Fort.
Incidentally in that era, when untouchability prevailed in the state, this was one event which was open to all citizens.
On Sunday, thousands of people, including foreign tourists, witnessed the colourful and popular cultural extravaganza.
Popular Malayalam film actor Raveendran said the event takes place in front of his home here and wherever he is, on this day, he returns to the city to take part in it.
One thing that cannot be missed is the floral carpet, made out of fresh flowers, that can be seen at homes, offices and practically everywhere else.
Over the years, Onam has become the one single festival celebrated by all sections of the Kerala society. It falls in the month of "Chingam", the first according to the Malayalam Calendar.
According to a legend, the state here had its golden period during the reign of King Mahabali with everyone contented with his lot and it is King Mahabali's annual visit to see his subjects, which is celebrated as Onam.