Onam is an important festival that is celebrated in Kerala, India. It is celebrated by all the Malayalees. It is known as the harvest festival and lasts for ten days. Each day consists of different traditional activities. This festival reflects the tradition and culture of Kerala. Although Onam is a Hindu festival, other religions have also started to celebrate it. Even though Onam is a fun festival, it can be stressful for people with sensory sensitivity, sensory processing disorders, or sensory overload. Therefore, it is important to make Onam sensory-friendly to be accessible and inclusive.
A big vegetarian feast with ten to thirty curries, a snack boat race, and Rangoli are some of the events of Onam festival that make it sensory-rich. Just like any other Hindu festival, during Onam everyone comes together to decorate their houses and temples with flowers. Keep reading to find out five ways to make your Onam festival sensory-friendly!
Unite in smaller groups
During Onam, it is common for the community to come together in a single space to celebrate it. However, this can be stressful for people who have sensory sensitivity, sensory processing disorder, or sensory overload. Therefore, it is important to put a limit to the number of attendees to be sensory-friendly.
Moreover, it is common to have multiple contests during Onam. Therefore, signing up earlier for an Onam event can be way to participate in a smaller group. Furthermore, hosting each contest multiple times, at different times, can also reduce the space being crowded.
If there is a house party, invite a limited number of guests, or stagger your invitations. Since sensory challenges are more difficult with crowds, limiting guests to a certain number at a time, helps.
Promote the festival as sensory-friendly
Whenever hosting a sensory-friendly Onam celebration, let people know it will be different. Tell people what changes to expect.
Because a sensory-friendly Onam celebration will be new experience for many people, encourage questions. Invite people to share suggestions for accessibility and inclusion.
Create a quiet-zone
During Onam celebrations, it is important to allocate a quiet-zone. A quiet-zone is a space where people can go to if they feel overwhelmed or simply want to take a break. Some of the things you can include in a quiet-zone are:
- sensory tools such as fidgets, weighted lap pad, and noise-cancelling earmuffs
- snacks and water
- no music or calm music
- dim lights (no bright lights)
- trained staff
- comfortable seating
Avoid bright lights and loud sounds
For people living with sensory sensitivity, bright or flashing lights and loud sounds can be overwhelming. Therefore, it is important to avoid loud sounds. Moreover, having noise-cancelling headphones available can also contribute to people feeling comfortable. It gives them an option to reduce noise, personally.
Have trained staff on site
Staff who are trained in offering sensory-friendly experiences, accessibility and inclusions, helps too.
Furthermore, an idea is to have trained staff offer sensory tools. Even offering water or food, helps.
Before the event starts, it is a good idea to introduce the trained staff on site and about what role they will be playing so that the crowd knows who they can reach out to whenever needed.
All in all, it is important to keep accessibility and inclusion in mind during every celebration. Making things sensory-friendly, accessible and inclusive helps more people participate.
Have a fulfilled, sensory-friendly Onam!
Are you interested in learning more about ways to make Hindu celebrations sensory-friendly? Check out:
- Simple Strategies for a Sensory-Friendly Diwali Celebration
- Create a Sensory-Friendly Hindu Wedding
- How to Make Tamil New Year Sensory-Friendly
- How to Make Your Holi Celebration Sensory-Friendly
- Strategies for a Sensory-Friendly Ganesh Chaturthi
Do you visit the temple often? Check out:
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