Image of Best Backpacks for Trekking: Ultimate Companion

Subscribe for Our Latest Travel Articles

Travel Festivals

Unveiling Onam Festival: Celebrating Kerala’s Rich Heritage

Image of Onam festival History and Significance

Onam Festival is Kerala’s largest and most significant celebration. Onam is celebrated with joy, harmony, and Kerala’s rich cultural legacy rather than merely a harvest festival. This essay will provide you with a thorough knowledge of Onam by taking you on a journey through its history, folklore, rituals, and elaborate ceremonies.

Onam: What is it?

Onam festival is very important to the people of Kerala. The occasion is used to welcome King Mahabali, a mythical king who is said to go to Kerala around Onam. Chingam, the first month in the Malayalam calendar, which often occurs in August or September, officially begins on the day of the celebration. People gather during this festival to commemorate the abundant harvest and highlight Kerala’s diverse cultural customs.

Legends of Onam

King Mahabali

Onam’s roots can be found in antiquated myths and stories. A well-known tale states that King Mahabali was a mighty ruler who brought wealth and joy to the people of Kerala. But as his fame and strength increased, the gods began to feel threatened and chose to destroy his rule out of jealousy.

When Lord Vishnu needed a favor from King Mahabali, he assumed the shape of the dwarf Vamana. Vamana, touched by Mahabali’s kindness, requested three feet of ground. Unaware that Vamana was none other than Lord Vishnu, Mahabali consented. Vamana spanned the entire cosmos with his first two steps, then pushed Mahabali into the netherworld with his third step. Vamana, however, was so moved by Mahabali’s kindness that he allowed him to pay his people a yearly visit in Kerala on the occasion of Onam.

Ten-Days Onam Festival

Image of Ten-Days Onam Celebrations

Onam festival is a ten-day celebration that is enthusiastically celebrated on each of its unique days. Let us take a look at the ten days of Onam in more detail:

Day one: Atham

The Pookalam Onam

The first day of Onam festival is Atham, and the celebration formally starts. People begin cleaning their homes and decorating them with beautiful flower rangolis, known as Pookalams, to prepare for the extravagant celebrations. There is a lot of anticipation and excitement in the air as the event gets going.

Day two: Chithira

On the second day, called Chithira, people begin preparing further for the big feast and other activities. The marketplaces are bustling with bustle as people purchase food, traditional jewelry, and new clothes for the Onam feast.

Day Three: Chodhi

The third day of the Onam festival is called Chodhi. Women and children of all ages take part in various cultural activities

On the third day of the Onam festival, known as Chodhi, the biggest preparations for the grand celebration take place. Women and children take part in various cultural activities. For instance, they make beautiful flower arrangements called Pookalams which are placed in the courtyards of the Keralan houses.

Day Four: Vishakam

The Vishakam festival is a day filled with joy and excitement as the festivities begin. People come together to participate in various cultural activities. Some of the traditional dances performed during Vishakam are Thumbi thullal, Kaikotti Kali. The vibrant colors, the steady rhythm, and the infectious joy of these dances add to the overall atmosphere.

Day Five: Anizham

Anuradha, or Anizham, is the day for sports and traditional activities and games. Men and women participate in these friendly tournaments where they display their skills in a variety of games including Attakalam, Kutukutu, Kayyankali, Ambeyyal (archery), and Talappanthukali (ball games). The players in these sports exhibit a sense of healthy rivalry and friendship.

Day 6: The Strike

Snake Boat Race at Onam

On Thriketa, also known as Thriketta, where they enjoy the grand spectacle of the renowned Snake Boat Race, Vallamkali. On the waters of the Pampa River, hundreds of boatmen row their traditional boats, called Chundan Vallams. A thrilling sensation is produced by the chanting, the applause of the audience. It’s a must-see during Onam festival

Day 7: Moolam

On Moolam, people gather to pay tribute to their ancestors and ask for their blessings. At temples and ancestral houses, special prayers and rituals are offered as an expression of appreciation for the family’s benefits. It’s an occasion to contemplate, remember, and feel a feeling of spiritual connectedness.

Day 8: The Pooradam

Pooradam, or Purva Phalguni, is the day when the celebrations heat up. People participate in large processions known as Atthachamayam while dressed in their finest traditional garb. The spectators are captivated by these processions, which include exquisitely adorned elephants, colorful floats, traditional music, and dance performances.

Day 9: Uthradam

The penultimate day of Onam, Uthradam, also known as Uthra Phalguni, is when the excitement and expectation pick up. Final preparations are made for the festival’s centerpiece, the enormous feast known as Onasadya. Families gather to prepare a lavish feast comprising several customary delicacies on this day.

Day ten: Thiruonam

The Onam festival

The state comes alive with festivities on Thiruonam, the most significant day of Onam festival. People get together with their families, dress in traditional clothing, say prayers, greet one another, and partake in the large feast known as Onasadya. A sumptuous buffet of delectable vegetarian foods served on banana leaves is called Onasadya. Usually, it includes eleven or thirteen necessary dishes.

Video credit:

Onam Customs: Preserving Traditions

Not only Onam festival a time for large celebrations, but it’s also a time to honor and preserve Kerala’s distinct traditions and customs. Listed below are some of the most significant Onam traditions:

Pookalam: Rangoli in Florals

The Onam Pookalam

Onam flowers with lovely floral rangolis called Pookalams with a variety of vibrant flowers is one of the most captivating Onam traditions. simple onam pookalam arrangements that adorn house courtyards are thought to greet King Mahabali. A vast array of flowers and petals are used to construct simple onam pookalam, which are made with extreme care and imagination.

Kathakali – The Classical Dance

Every moment i think about my recent trip to Kerala. I can’t think to stop thinking about the colorful celebrations. The mixture of Customs, dance performances, and colors to busy marketplaces.

The fascinating acts that adorn the big carnival are the clearest example of how Onam’s heart pulses to the beat of the dance. Every dance style, from the stately Kathakali to the delicate Kaikottikali and the exuberant Thumbi Thullal, narrates a tale of customs and legacy. I was taken to a realm where each movement was evidence of Kerala’s rich cultural fabric as I watched the performers work their magic on stage.

Onakalikal: Traditional Games

People of all ages join together during Onam festival to play sports and play traditional activities. Men demonstrate their physical strength and spirit of competition by participating in demanding sports like Kayyankali, Attakalam, Kutukutu, Ambeyyal (archery), and Talappanthukali (ball games). In contrast, women participate in traditional events and dance gracefully, such as Thumbi Thullal and Kaikotti Kali.

Shopping- Custom of Onakkodi

Video credit:

One of the most beloved aspects of the festivities is the custom of Onakkodi, who dons new clothes for the occasion. I couldn’t help but be amazed by the elaborate patterns and traditional workmanship that decorated each Mundus and Kasavu saree as I strolled through busy markets. Every purchase also seemed like a celebration of style and history since there were so many deals and promotions.

Without the lively flower stalls that cover every corner with flower fragrant blossoms. With the roses and different variety of marigolds for Pookkalams,
signifies joy and togetherness.

The enthusiasm of Uthrada Pachil took over the marketplaces as the celebrations gear up on the eve of thiruvinam. Whether it is a mall or a rural market enthusiasm of Uthrada Pachil crossed boundaries with a grand celebration of Onam festival

Looking back on my Onam festival adventure, I am reminded of Kerala’s boundless beauty and diversity—it truly is God’s Own Country. Onam is an invitation to us to welcome the spirit of peace, happiness, and festivity in every ritual, purchase, and dance. It accomplishes this by connecting us to Kerala’s rich cultural heritage via bridging time and space. And for that, I will always be appreciative.

Grand Feast of Onasadya

Image of Grand Feast of Onasadya

The highlight of the Onam festival is the large feast known as Onasadya. It’s a lavish vegetarian dinner that’s served on banana leaves and consists of several traditional foods. Delights like Avial (a mixed vegetable dish), Sambar, Rasam, Thoran (vegetables stir-fried with coconut), Parippu (dal), Payasam (a sweet dessert), and many more are commonly served on Onasadya. Gathering together to honor the spirit of Onam, family, friends, and neighbors share a feast made with much love and care.

Onam is not just a celebration it shows Kerala’s rich cultural traditions and harvest festival which is celebrated. It shows unity in people in a spirit of harmony, love, and happiness

Kerala comes alive during Onam, with vibrant cultural performances, the thrilling Snake Boat Race, and the magnificent Onasadya feast.

Onam celebrated to immerse yourself in the custom with Voxplor

Also, Read My Next Blog On Odisha

Picture: Unsplash

You may also like

Image of a Beaches In India
Travel Asia Guides

Discover Top 10 Best Beaches in India: Sun, Sand, Serenity

Let us experience the touch and feel of the sandy shores on the beach. Life is nothing if you don’t
Image of What Is The Story Behind Trimbakeshwar Temple
Travel Asia

Unveiling the Sacred Trimbakeshwar Temple: A Spiritual Journey into Lord Shiva’s 12 Jyotirlingas

Story Behind Trimbakeshwar Temple it is located in the town of Trimbak in the Nashik district of Maharashtra, India, and