Apart from traditional dance forms and delicious food, celebrations of the 10 day Onam festival includes lots of indoor and outdoor traditional sports and games.
The term Onakalikal is the collective name for the numerous games played on the occasion of Onam.
These games played in Onam include – Onakalikal, Talappanthukali, Kayyankali, Attakalam, Ambeyyal, KutuKutu.
These games add to the enthusiasm of the festival and people of all age groups participate in these games.
Below we have described these games.
Talappanthukali is a ball game that is commonly played during the festival of Onam. This game is played in groups.
In this game, players divide themselves into two teams. The game is played in an open area or ground. A natta (a stick) is planted at one end of the ground and a line or boundary is drawn at the other end to mark the space beyond which the ball should not be thrown.
Now a player from the team playing from the side of natta serves the ball to the opposite team and players of the opposite team try to catch the ball.
If players of the opposite team are able to catch the ball then the player who served the ball is considered ‘out’ and if the catch is missed the player who served the ball geta another chance to throw the ball.
A player who manages to hit the stick with the ball wins the game.
Kayyankali is a combat game which is played to shocase the strength and physical might of the people of Kerala. men play this strength game during Onam festival.
To play Kayyankali men fight one-to-one without using any weapon and the stronger man wins.
This game is totally based on strength, and is a one to one fight between men. This sport is immensely popular and huge crowd of spectators view and enjoy this wrestling sort of fight.
Attakalam is another combat game played during the Onam festival. Attakalam is less dangerous and aggressive of the two as compared to Kayyankali.
Another difference between botht the combat games is that Attakalam is played in batches, Kayyankali is played singly.
To play this game, one team stands inside the circle and another stands outside the circle. Now a player from the outside group tries to strike at and bring a player from inside group outside.
The game is somewhat similar to Kabaddi.
Ambeyyal is an Archery game played during Onam by Men. In this game there are two teams and each player of both the teams are given bow and arrow.
In this game, players of both teams shoot one after another on the target which is known as cheppu. One who manages to hit it carries all the arrows lying on the ground for his team. Players of each team make efforts to secure all the arrows and deprive the other team of its stock.
The game tests the skill and patience of a players.
Kutukutu is another popular game played during the festival of Onam. This game is similar to Kabaddi just the difference is that instead of saying ‘kabaddi kabaddi’ or ‘hu tu tu tu’ players say ‘Kutu Kutu’. Though simple in nature, the game is an extremely challenging one as it tests strength, speed, tact and the power of lungs of a player.