Thiruvananthapuram , Sep 10

As a part of Onam Celebrations in the state, the government of Kerala on Tuesday organised an 'Athapookalam' (floral carpet) competition here.

The competition was jointly inaugurated by Governor Arif Mohammed Khan's wife Reshma Arif, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's wife Kamala and state Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran's wife Sulekha.

Deepa Pradeep, one of the 17 participants, told ANI "My friends and I came here to participate in the floral carpet competition. We couldn't attend the competition last year due to floods."

"We are participating for the first time and we are so excited to be a part of the Kerala government's Onam celebration. We have made Kerala as our theme for the 'Athapookalam' competition," she added.

Another participant Priya said "We have been participating in the competition for a long time. Every year, I will be here along with my family to celebrate our Onam."

Elaborating how she enjoys Onam every year, Priya said "We make 'Onasadya', a meal which includes a wide variety of vegetarian cuisines served on a banana leaf, at our homes. Moreover, we will wear new clothes specially purchased for Onam and visit nearby temples in the morning."

"It is a great feeling to celebrate Onam with different groups of society. We don't miss any chance to celebrate the festival," she added.

The festival is celebrated to commemorate the Great King Mahabali, who according to the legends is said to visit Kerala on this of this auspicious occasion.

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