Onam is a harvest festival of Kerala celebrated in the Malayalam month of ‘Chingam’ (Aug-Sept). In Kerala, this is an important annual festival celebrated with full of joy and enthusiasm by people of all communities. It’s a 10-day festival that starts on the fourth day and concludes on the tenth day with ‘Thiruvonam.’ According to folklore, this is the day when their beloved demon-king Mahabali visits his kingdom.
Onam 10-day Carnival
Onam is the day to welcome and honor a demon King. According to mythology, it is said that on Thiruvonam, the spirit of the demon King Mahabali visits Kerala to see his people. Despite being a demon, Mahabali was well known for his kind and generous nature. During his reign, everybody in his state was happy and prosperous and this period was regarded as the golden era in Kerala. There are many attractions to the festival such as folk songs, energetic games, elephants, elegant dances, boats, and flowers decoration, but one among the special feature is the grand feast known as Onasadya, which is a nine-course meal consisting of 10-13 dishes, including rice, sambar, avial, rasam, payasam (sweet dish). It is served on Thiruvonam — the day of the main festivities. All this is done to show their beloved King Mahabali that his people are prosperous and happy. The festival begins on the first day known as Atham and culminates on the tenth day, known as Onam or Thiruvonam, means ‘Sacred Onam Day.’ However, few customary celebrations continue for two more days with snake boat race, Pulikkali tiger play, and other cultural events.
Atham: The first day of Onam celebration starts with people visiting the temple. As per mythology, on this day King Mahabali begins his preparation to descend to Kerala as per his boon. To welcome their beloved King, the women commence creating floral arrangements (pookalam) on the ground in front of their homes. Traditionally, the pookalams are completed with ten rings; each ring represents a god. Each color symbolizes each god and is chosen accordingly to please them, but on the first day of Atham only yellow flowers are used for the first layer of the pookalam Chithira: The second day of Onam, even here the women commence creating pookolam but with adding more layers to the pookalams, using mostly orange and creamy yellow flowers Chodhi: The third fun-filled day marked as a shopping time of Onam. People begin buying new clothes, jewelry, and gifts Vishakham: The fourth day when the housewives visit the markets to stock up on ingredients to prepare the elaborate Onam meal. On this day, Pookalam design competitions also commence across Kerala
Anizham: The fifth day is for the snake boat races kick-off across the state. A mock race is held at Aranmula as a rehearsal for the race that's held there after the main day of Onam Thriketa: The sixth day when people start visiting their families and friends, even now the fresh flowers are continuously added to the pookalams Moolam: The seventh day when the state is beautifully decorated. People also decorate swings with flowers to celebrate the king's arrival at their home. Many places start serving smaller versions of the traditional Onasadya Onam meal Pooradam: The eighth day starts with the ritual installation of pyramid-style clay statues of King Mahabali and Lord Vamana, known as Onathappan, in the center of pookalams. By now, the pookalams have greatly grown in size and complexity of design Uthradom: The ninth day is considered to be the Onam eve. On this day, King Mahabali is believed to visit his kingdom (present-day Kerala). It is an occasion dedicated for Onam shopping and cleaning the house. It is an auspicious day to buy fresh fruit and vegetables Thiruvonam: The tenth day is celebrated as the main Onam when King Mahabali is said to visit people's homes. Homes are spic and span, finished pookalams are elaborate, people wore new clothes, and families join together to enjoy an elaborate vegetarian feast known as the Onam Sadya or Onasadya Avvittom: The Eleventh day when the pleased King Mahabali's returns to Patala Loka. Onathappan, the statues of King Mahabali and Lord Vishnu, is immersed in the sea or river to say goodbye, and pookalams are cleared and removed Chatayam: The twelfth day when the post-Onam celebrations continue for the next couple of days with snake boat races and Pulikkali (tiger play). Invoke the blessings of Lord Vishnu's Vamana Avatar on Onam to Receive 8 Types of Wealth Blessings and Gain Abundance