Onam is the time of farming in Wayanad. ‘Punja’ and ‘Nanja’ are the two farming seasons in the region. Punja farming, which is harvested in May, has substantially reduced. Nanja farming that relies on south-west monsoon is the common practice. Seeds are planted in this season, and before Karkidakam ends seedlings are plucked and planted. If rains are affected, then this will continue on in Chingam. In tribal communities, this goes on till the end of August. Various rituals are observed by these sects as a part of agricultural practises. Kambala is such a celebration that they enjoy when seeds are laid and also during harvest.
The last Kambalam is ‘Rajakambalam’. It is a celebration of harvest. Fields that have been ploughed thoroughly are also known as ‘Kambala’. The seedling plating festival that is held in these Kambalas are known as ‘Kambala Natti’. Both men and women participate in this, dance and plant the seedlings. Before laying the seeds, there is a tradition of praying to gods and ancestors. The Kurichia community in the region also celebrates the day of Makam in the month of Kanni as the birthday of rice. ‘Kathirkayattal’, a variant of ‘Niraputhari’, is celebrated on the tenth day of Thulam. Kambala festivities often continue even after the harvest.
In northern Malabar, cattle games are also referred to as Kambala.