Onam is a grand festival celebrated by the people of Kerala. It is the state festival of Kerala and falls during the month of Chingam which falls between August and September and lasts for ten days. Onam grand festival brings out the rich cultural heritage of Kerala . Onam is an ancient festival which still survives in modern times. Kerala’s rice harvest festival and the Festival of Rain Flowers, which fall on the Malayalam month of Chingam, celebrates the Asura King Mahabali’s annual visit from Patala or the world under the earth.The festival celebrates the Vamana avatar of Vishnu and the following repatriation of the legendary Emperor Mahabali. Onam is exclusive since Mahabali has been revered by the people of Kerala since prehistory.

Historical Importance

There is a very mythological story that is related with the celebration of Onam in Kerala. Legend says that there was a very just and good king in Kerala. This king Mahabali was sincerely concerned about the welfare of his people. His subjects not only owed allegiance to him but also loved and respected him.This mutual relationship of love and harmony made the Gods in heaven jealous for King Mahabali belonged to the demon race. For the devotion of this daitya, Mahabali, Lord Vishnu with his Vamana avatar granted him rule over the underworld. It was also granted that he would hold the position of Indra for one Manvantara, thus fulfilling his devotee’s desire or the office of Indra being a rotating position, changing every Manvantara.

About Onam Festival

Onam festival is the most important festival of Kerala State of India which is celbrated with full joy and vigor. Onam is a ten day festival and is celebrated in parts in all ten days . All the day of this grand festival Onam is a special and unique day with its own rituals and traditions.

  • First Day is called as Atham which is the starting day of Onam . The traditional ritual of laying Pookalam means the floral carpet is done on this day. The size of thie floral carpet on this day is small and is increased day by day. Statues of Mahabali and Vamanan are installed at the entrance of houses here.
  • Second Day is called as Chithira , on this day the second layer of the floral painting is made with 2 different colours apart from yellow. People clean there houses on this day.
  • Third day is Chodi the floral painitng gains its size and about 4-5 different color flowers are used to decorate it.
  • Vishakam the fourth day of Onam is one of the most auspicious day of the festival. various competitions are held acroos the state and town of Kerala. Markets get crowded as the harvest sale are on boom this day.
  • Anizham the fifth day of Onam is one of the most imnportant day of festival as it marks the starting of Snake Boat Races in different parts of Kerala.
  • Thriketa the sixth day of the festival , the public frenzy starts going on higher side. The floral design becomes larger on this day with at least 5 to 6 new flowers types added to the original designs.
  • Moolam marks the seventh day of the festival , as the tenth day is closed people go for shopping and you will see color everywhere. The floral desgin also get enlarged with multiple flowers of Kerala.
  • Pooradam is the eighth day of Onam Festival , on this day the statues if Vaman and Mahabali are cleaned and washed and taken around the house as a procession and later is installed in the center of the floral painting smeared with rice flour.
  • Uthradom is the ninth day of Onam festival The importance of this day is last minute extreme shopping frenzy called as Uthradapachal and is considered the most auspicious day for purchase of fresh vegetables and fruits along with other provisions from the Thiruvonam day.
  • Thiruvonam is the tenth day of Inam Festival and is the most important day of this festival. The day marks return of Mahabali to his fabled land (Kerala), as per the boon he received from Vamana to meet his subjects and bless them.Thiruona-Sadya, well known for being one of the most sumptuous feasts ever prepared by mankind. The level of sumptuous varies at each individual household, however every household tries to make as grand as possible as they can. The feast served on plantain leaves have more than 13 to 15 curries apart from other regular items.

Onam Celebration Activities

The festival is marked by various festivities, including intricate flower carpets, elaborate banquet lunches, Snake Boat Races, Onappottan, Kaazhchakkula in Guruvayoor, PuliKali, Kaikottikkali, Kummaattikkali, Onathaar, Onachamayam, Onathallu, Thrikkaakarayappan, Thumbi thullal, Onavillu etc. This is one of the very few festivals which is celebrated with most number of cultural elements.
Onam is a celebration of 10 days and the grand celebrations is of each day which has its own importance in various rituals and traditions. Earthen mounds, which look somewhat like square pyramids, representing Mahabali and Vamana are placed in the dung-plastered courtyards in front of the house and beautifully decorated with flowers. It is considered a work of art accomplished with a delicate touch and a highly artistic sense of tone and blending.This way in a similar way North Indians make Rangoli which is made of powders of various colored powders When completed, a small pandal, hung with little garlands is founded over it. Girls mostly wear white sarees in this festival. A traditional Kerala cuisine is served on banana leaf called sadya.

Onam 2013 Dates

Thrippunithura – Ernakulam Dist
7 Sep 2013
Celebrated all over Kerala
16 Sep 2013
Swaraj Round – Thrissur Dist
19 Sep 2013

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