Uriyadi is played during Onam celebrations and on Shri Krishna Jayanti (Ashtami Rohini). Uri is a simple knot made of rope which is used to stack earthen pots. These pots are used to store milk, curd and ghee and are hung in a corner of the kitchen. This custom was common during the medieval period in India.
The folklore behind Uriyadi is that Krishna, who was fond of ghee, used to sneak into the kitchen to break the pot and consume the ghee. Legend says that he was often caught red-handed by his mother Yashoda and scolded for the same.
All over India, Uriyadi competitions are held in various ways. The end of a rope is tied to an earthen pot filled with a mixture of milk, butter, fruit and ghee. In some places, sweets are also filled. The other end of the rope is controlled by one person through a loop tied to it. The player dressed as Krishna has to break the Uri. The game becomes interesting when bystanders splash water onto the player, making it difficult to see the Uri. In some places, a piece of cloth is wrapped around the player’s eyes. The player who overcomes all these challenges and breaks the Uri within the stipulated time is the winner.
Vadayattukotta temple in Kollam district is famous for Uriyadi competitions during Shri Krishna Jayanti celebrations which last for five days. Uriyadi competitions in Guruvayur are also famous. The Uriyadi competition is an inevitable event during Onam celebrations and is held throughout cities and villages.