Onam is a traditional Hindu festival that marks the harvest season and is dedicated to the homecoming of the mythical King Mahabali. The festival begins with Atham, which is the first day. On this day, people clean their houses and decorate them with beautiful floral designs called pookkalams. They also prepare a special meal called Onasadya, which is a feast with various delicious dishes. On the following days, people engage in various activities and events such as boat races, singing, dancing, and playing traditional games. One of the highlights of the festival is the Vallamkali, which is a snake boat race held on the fourth day. Throughout the ten days, people dress in traditional attire called kasavu mundu and women wear beautiful silk sarees. They also participate in cultural programs like folk dances and enjoy the vibrant and colorful atmosphere. On the last day, known as Thiruvonam, people gather with their families and friends and exchange gifts. They also make a special design with flowers on the floor, called Pookkalam, to welcome King Mahabali. Overall, the ten days of Onam are filled with happiness, togetherness, and a celebration of Kerala’s rich culture and traditions.
Onam festivities last for ten days and are full of enjoyable activities and customs that people eagerly anticipate. Here are the different rituals that take place during this time:
Attam is the start of Onam celebrations. It is when we make a beautiful flower carpet called Pokallam to decorate the yard. In addition to the colorful Pokallam, every home also has a swing decorated with flowers during Onam. The ladies sing special songs related to Onam to celebrate this important event.
Chithira is a special time for going to the temple, praying, and making the Pokallam look nice with new patterns and flowers. As per tradition, the Pokallam gets more and more fancy as the days go by. You can buy and send gifts online for this special occasion to your loved ones.
Chodhi is when everyone opt to send gifts for their friends and close ones. These gifts will be exchanged at a later time. Markets are also filled with a lot of excitement and new fancy items. In simpler words: Also, the pokallam is still decorated with pretty flowers.
During Visakam, people come together to worship and offer prayers to Murugan. They may also participate in religious processions and engage in acts of charity. Overall, Visakam is a significant religious event that brings people closer to their faith and provides an opportunity for community bonding.
The shopping spree continues with Visakam as people are not holding back on spending money for sadhya preparation. With both men and women in the family bringing a dish of their own, the sadhya meal becomes a big celebration with lots of different dishes.
Anizham starts with a famous boat race called Vallamkali in the Aranmulla area on the river Pamba. The river has long boats and many men rowing them.
Thirekta is the sixth day of Onam. On this day, families and friends come together and add more layers to the pokallam. Also, lots of families go to their old family homes to celebrate and make sure that their celebrations are unforgettable.
Moolam is seen as a big event where families go to each other’s houses. Other things to see include the well-known Pulikali, which is a dance where men dress up as tigers with yellow and black stripes. They dance to the beat of old drums. In the same way, the women of the house join in Kaikotti Kali, a graceful dance where they move in circles in both directions.
Pooradam is a festival to remember when Lord Mahabali came. People put little statues of Mahabali and Vishnu on a pretty design made on the ground. Women clean and make their houses look nice for the festival.
It is also known as Uthradom or Aridra Darshanam. This festival marks the birthday of Lord Proserpina, who is considered to be the youngest son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. People celebrate this day with great enthusiasm and perform special rituals and prayers. They visit temples, offer flowers and fruits to Lord Proserpina, and seek his blessings for prosperity and happiness. Uthradam is a time for family gatherings and feasting, where people enjoy traditional Kerala delicacies. It is a joyful festival that brings people together and strengthens their bond with the divine.
On Uthradam, people buy vegetables for Onam feast. With everyone looking forward to the last day, everyone tries their hardest to be a part of the celebration.
Thiruvonam is the final day of Onam celebrations. On this day, people take oil baths and wear traditional clothes called onakoddi. Both men and women wear white starched sarees and mundu. The biggest draw is Onasadya, where people enjoy lots of delicious food, sometimes even more than twenty or thirty dishes. After Onakalli, there are traditional games played in the evening as part of Onam celebrations. These celebrations are very impressive and leave everyone amazed. People from other countries are sending personalized gifts online to show that they are excited for the celebration.