Onakalikal is a collective name for the numerous games played on the occasion of Onam. After a sumptuous Onasadya meal, the time is ideal to indulge in a bit of merriment. People of Kerala are energetic and they make the most of it including sports.
There are various kinds of games devised for this occasion for people with different temperaments. The old and sober people go in for indoor games like chess [Chathurangam], cards and dice. The younger and energetic enjoy participating in outdoor and robust games that are traditional. These games have only minor regional variations from what we see in other parts of India.
Onakalikal includes combats that are essentially showing strength and physical might of the people of Kerala. Two such popular combats of Kerala are Kayyankali and Attakalam. Of these two, more violent Kayyankali is about people fighting, one to one, with their fists.
There is a game of archery called Ambeyyal for people who love shooting. This is an interesting event in which bamboo bows and blunted arrows are used. People divide into two teams. They try to deprive each other of their stock of arrows. Although this game is not meant to be violent, sometimes many players get wounded in this.
Other two interesting games played on the occasion of Onam. One is a ball game called Talappanthukali. Another is a variation of Kabaddi, locally called Kutukutu.
All Onam Sports:
Onakalikal, Talappanthukali, Kayyankali, Attakalam, Ambeyyal, KutuKutu