Onam FestivalOnam is a significant festival celebrated in the state of Kerala, India. It is a ten-day long harvest festival that commemorates the homecoming of the mythical King Mahabali. The festival is a time of great joy, cultural festivities, and feasting for the people of Kerala. Onam typically falls in the Malayalam month of Chingam, which corresponds to the months of August or September in the Gregorian calendar. The festival marks the beginning of the Malayalam New Year and is celebrated with great enthusiasm by people of all religions and communities in Kerala. The festival involves various customs and rituals, with each day having its own significance. The most iconic aspect of Onam is the creation of beautiful floral designs called “Pookkalam” or “Athapookalam” in front of homes. These intricate designs are made using various types of flowers and are considered a symbol of prosperity and welcome. Another highlight of Onam is the traditional dance form called “Thiruvathira Kali,” performed by women in a circle around a lamp. The dance is characterized by graceful movements and rhythmic clapping. On the final day of Onam, known as Thiru Onam, people dress in traditional attire, participate in grand feasts called “Onam Sadya,” and indulge in various cultural activities. The Onam Sadya is a traditional vegetarian feast served on banana leaves and comprises a wide variety of dishes. Additionally, boat races known as “Vallam Kali” are held during Onam. These races involve beautifully decorated boats and attract a large number of spectators. Overall, Onam is a time of joy, togetherness, and celebration, reflecting the rich cultural heritage of Kerala. It is a festival that brings people together, regardless of their backgrounds, and showcases the vibrant traditions and customs of the region.
Onam CelebrationOnam is celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm in the state of Kerala, India. The festival is marked by various customs, rituals, and cultural activities that showcase the rich traditions of Kerala. Here are some key aspects of Onam celebrations:
PookkalamThe construction of flower patterns known as Pookkalam or Athapookalam is one of the most notable aspects of Onam. A variety of flowers are put in these ways to create the designs. The design grows larger and more complex every day for the course of the ten-day festival with the addition of a new layer.
Onam SadyaOnam is often associated with the lavish feast known as Onam Sadya. On banana leaves, a typical vegetarian supper is presented. Rice, sambar, avial (a meal of mixed vegetables), thoran (vegetables stir-fried with coconut), olan (a dish of ash gourd and coconut curry), payasam (sweet dessert), and other foods are served at the feast. Families and communities gather to enjoy the extravagant dinner known as the Sadya at lunchtime, when it is typically served.
Vallam Kali (Boat Races)The thrilling Vallam Kali, commonly referred to as the Snake Boat Race, is a festival-related activity. It comprises a crew of oarsmen rowing a group of long, narrow boats known as snake boats. The synchronised rowing and upbeat mood draw a sizable crowd to the events, which take place on rivers and backwaters.
Traditional DancesDuring Onam celebrations, traditional dances like Kaikottikali and Thiruvathira Kali are performed. Women do the beautiful Thiruvathira Kali dance in a circle around a lamp, whereas the Kaikottikali dance is performed by a group of women while they clap their hands in a rhythmic sequence.
PulikaliTiger Dance, often referred to as Pulikali, is a distinctive folk art form presented at Onam. Participants dance to the sounds of traditional percussion instruments while having their bodies painted to resemble tigers. It is a vibrant and entertaining show that uplifts the holiday mood.
Cultural EventsDuring Onam, a number of cultural events are organised, including music and dance performances, plays, and traditional art exhibitions. These occasions delight both locals and visitors while showcasing Kerala’s rich cultural history.
Onam attireDuring this festival, people dress in traditional garb. Beautiful traditional sarees are worn by women, and traditional mundu (dhoti) or kasavu shirts are preferred by males. The clothing’s vivid hues and elaborate patterns enhance the joyful atmosphere. These are some of the common elements and traditions observed during Onam celebrations. The festival brings people together, fosters a sense of community, and showcases the vibrant cultural heritage of Kerala.
Local Tourism wishes on Onam 2023Happy Onam 2023! “May the vibrant colors of Onam illuminate your life with joy, prosperity, and harmony. Wishing you and your family a delightful Onam filled with blessings and togetherness!”
FAQs on Onam Festival
Onam is celebrated to commemorate the homecoming of the mythical King Mahabali and to mark the harvest season in Kerala. It is believed that during Onam, King Mahabali visits his kingdom and brings prosperity and happiness to the people.
Onam is a ten-day long festival, with the main day of celebration called Thiru Onam falling on the second day of the lunar month of Chingam.
Some of the key rituals and traditions of Onam include creating Pookkalam (floral designs), preparing and enjoying the Onam Sadya (feast), participating in Vallam Kali (boat races), performing traditional dances like Thiruvathira Kali, and organizing cultural programs and events.
Onam Sadya is a grand vegetarian feast served on banana leaves during Onam. It consists of numerous dishes like rice, sambar, avial, thoran, olan, payasam, and more. The Sadya is known for its elaborate spread and is enjoyed by people of all ages.
Yes, Thiruvathira Kali and Kaikottikali are popular traditional dances performed during Onam. Thiruvathira Kali is a graceful dance performed by women in a circle, while Kaikottikali involves women dancing in a group, clapping their hands to the rhythm of the music.
Yes, processions and parades featuring beautifully decorated elephants, traditional art forms, and music are organized in various parts of Kerala during Onam. These processions showcase the cultural heritage of Kerala and attract locals and tourists alike.
Yes, Onam is celebrated by people of all religions and communities in Kerala. It is a festival that promotes inclusivity and unity, and everyone is welcome to join in the festivities and enjoy the cultural traditions.