Pookalam forms a vital part in the welcoming celebration of King Mahabali whose soul visits the state in the ten days during Onam feels happy to see these beautiful patterns on the entrance of one’s home. The design made on the veranda or at the entrance of the home sets the essence of the festival and fills the air with festivity. Thus, the prosperity and happiness of that home is ensured for along time.
Traditional Pookalam pattern are created in ten rings or round steps each representing a ‘God’. Symbolically the ten rings or steps represent the ten deities in the Hindu pantheon. First step is Ganesha, second is Shiva Shakti, third is Shiva, fourth is Brahma, fifth is Pancha Boothangal, sixth is for Shanmughan or Muruga, seventh step is for Guru, eighth step is for ashta digpalakar, ninth is for Indra and tenth is for Lord Vishnu.There is also a belief that the floral carpet symbolically represents the fight between Asuras (demons) and Devas (Demi gods). On the Thiruonam day a conical figure made up of clay and painted with rice flour paste, is placed in the courtyard. This is called Thrikkakarai Appan, who is Lord Vamana.For some people it represents both King maveli and Vishnu. King Maveli is referred to as Onathappan. In this way Idols of Mahabali and Vishnu are placed in the center of the Pookalam and worshiped.
Onappookkalam symbolizes Unity in Diversity, all flowers gather harmoniously. “Pookkalam represent the unity of hearts. use of many different types of flower petals to make a pookkalam is symbolic of the coming together of hearts in society. The unity of hearts is the beauty of society. Each flower has a beauty of its own, but when they come together their beauty multiplies. This is the true celebration of Onam.” Bloomed flower is a materialization of joy, happiness, accomplished expectations, abundance, plenitude etc. Flowers of various fragrance, colour and quality gather in one pookkalam banishing all discriminations. All that facilitate Unity and Integrity. Pookalam are our expression of gratitude and devotion to the Lord.