Feasting with the Monkeys at Onam…
I’m not monkeying around! There really is an Onam feast for monkeys – the guests seem to be having a monkey of a time!
Of course, monkeys are especially beloved because of Lord Hanuman, the monkey god and diehard devotee of Sri Rama. In any Indian town or city, monkeys can do a lot of mischief but get away without punishment due to this divine connection.
During the festival season of Onam, there is a special feast for these honored guests. Here is a video showing the monkeys feasting at Sasthamkotta Sree Dharmasastha Temple in Kollam district of Kerala, South India.
An Onam Feast…Forget the table manners!
Onasadya – a traditional vegetarian feast
According to Indiavideo.org, “The temple premise is home to a monkey brigade, considered as favorites of the presiding deity. Regardless of their naughty behavior at times, devotees and people living nearby never harm the monkeys.”
During the festival season of Onam in Kerala, Onasadya (traditional vegetarian feast), just like the one in households is given to this respected monkey brigade that live in and around the Sree Dharmasastha Temple at Sasthamkotta. The video features Onasadya being served to the monkeys and shows them enjoying the delicacies in a manner that suits their table manners!
Compassion and Caring
One of the things I love about India is this sense of oneness with all creation. During early morning walks I have seen people feeding the birds, throwing dough balls into the water for fish and feeding the cows. My own mother always put aside food for the birds and the cows before starting her midday meal.
Indeed Indians, especially Hindus, make offerings to many animals. In some other temples of Kerala, there are offerings to different animals who are connected with the presiding deity: bulls at the Shiva Temple in Thirunakkara; cows at Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Swamy Temple; elephants at Guruvayur Sri Krishna Swamy Temple; peacocks in Subrahmanya Temple at Haripad and dogs in Parassinikadavu Muthappan Temple at Parassinikadavu.
All very well – but one wishes city animals also received such devotion and kindness on the streets of busy streets. One has only to see the scrawny ragged dogs and flea-bitten cats which haunt major metropolises to wish some of this love and largess could be extended to them. Privately owned pets get a lot of love but it’s the abandoned animals which need to be taken care of.
Meanwhile enjoy this delightful video of the feasting monkeys!