Onam is celebrated in the state of Kerala, in southern India. Onam is a 10-day harvest festival, also welcoming of the great King Mahabali. It’s a festival of rich in tradition, culture, food, rituals, and heritage. Onam is celebrated in the beginning of the month of Chingam, the first month of Malayalam Calendar – state of Kerala, India. Though the important day of Onam (known as Thiru Onam) in 2017 is on September 4, the festival starts 10 days before Thiru Onam, on Atham (August 25).
In the state of Kerala, India, Onam is a high-spirited festival. Kochi, Trivandrum, Thrissur, Ernakulam, and Kottayam cities burst with colors, pookalam, the flower arrangements, prayers, traditional dance, music, and procession. According to a legend, the festival is celebrated to welcome King Mahabali, whose spirit is said to visit Kerala at the time of Onam. The story behind this is that asura (demon) king, Mahabali, ruled Kerala. Everyone in the state was happy and prosperous under Mahabali. The gods concerned about the King’s power and popularity. As a result, they wanted to bring an end to his reign. However, for Mahabali’s good deed, God granted him a boon that he could annually return to Kerala once a year to see the people he is most attached to. Onam is celebrated every year to welcome Mahabali in the grandest way.
Traditional aspects of Onam
People draw most beautiful patterned design rangoli’s, arrange flowers which are called pookalam in front of their houses. to welcome the King. Preparations start days before. New clothes, feasts, pookalam competitions, music, dance, sports and snake boat races. People wake up early in the morning, perform prayers. They make pookalam on the ground in front of their houses. Each day of Onam has its own significant way of the celebration. A lot of cooking takes place during Onam. Traditional feast is called Onasadya or Onam Sadya. It’s served on the day of Thiru Onam in banana leaves. It is a nine-course meal consisting of 11 to 13 essential dishes.