Onam is a Hindu festival celebrated in Kerala, India. It is also the state festival of Kerala with State holidays on 4 days starting from Onam Eve (Uthradom) to the 3rd Onam Day. The festival falls during the Malayalam month of Chingam (August – September) and marks the commemoration of Vamana avatara of Vishnu and the subsequent homecoming of the mythical King Mahabali who Malayalees consider as their King. In Kerala, it is the festival celebrated with most number of cultural elements such as Vallam Kali, Pulikali, Pookkalam, Onathappan, Thumbi Thullal, Onavillu, Kazhchakkula, Onapottan, Atthachamayam etc. Onam is reminiscent of Kerala’s agrarian past, as it is considered to be a harvest festival.
Onam Festival Images
The festival of Onam lasts for ten long days and each day has a unique name, significance and different activities attached to it:
Day 1 (Atham): This is the first day of Onam when Mahabali supposedly starts his preparation to head towards earth. It is marked by the beginning of designing Pookalam (only with Yellow flowers), the size of which eventually grows with each day. The statues of Vamana and King Mahabali are also installed in houses.
Day 2 (Chithira): The second day adds another layer of flowers to Pookalam and cleaning of houses starts on Chithira.
Day 3 (Chodi): Along with the addition of flowers to Pookalam, People start their shopping at this day.
Day 4 (Vishakam): This day marks the beginning of several competitions that are held during Onam.
Day 5 (Anizham): This is the day when Vallamkali Boat Race starts in many parts of Kerala.
Day 6 (Thriketa): By this time most of schools get closed and people start devoting all their time to the celebrations.
Day 7 (Moolam): This is the seventh day in the Onam celebrations. At several places Ona Sadya and the dances related to the festival starts being performed. The state has been decorated beautifully by this time.
Day 8 (Pooradam): This is a day when the statues of Vamana and King Mahabli are washed and installed in the middle of the Pookalam which is very big in size now.
Day 9 (Uthradom): The ninth day or the eve of Onam is of a great significance. People buy fresh vegetables and women cook the traditional meals which are very grand. King Mahabali, it is believed reaches the state of Kerala this day.
Day 10 (Thiruonam): This is the final day when all the preparations are culminated into final celebrations. People take bath early in the morning, distribute gifts and special prayers are held in temples. The grand Thiruona Sadya (Onam Special Meal) is prepared in all the households. Several competitions are held in the different parts of Kerala.