The harvest festival of Onam is a big affair in South and is celebrated by the Malayalis of Kerala on Friday, 28 August. Onam is celebrated in the Malayalam month of Chingam. Conventionally, this 10 day festival is marked with the celebrations from Atham to Thiruvonam.
The festival marks the homecoming of mythological King Mahabal, on the culmination day of this festival period that is celebrated as Onam. Mahabali, who emerges from netherworld visits people in Kerala on Onam. As this myth follows, Lord Vishnu sent Mahabali to Pathalam (an imaginary place below the earth) because many people were jealous of his popularity. He was blessed with a boon to pay a visit once a year on the auspicious festival of Onam.
String to traditions
This festival is all about filling your soul with ecstasy to and the buzz of Onam festivities. This is a festival to remain in bliss and follow the traditions. Dress up in the best ethnic clothes called Onakkodi, white and off white saris with golden border. Men wear traditional attire called Mundu and white color shirt on Onam. But who says that doesn’t look stylish? You can experiment with your accessories to look fabulous or something to contrast the outfit. People perform the Thiruvathira dance, lay flower carpets, indulge in the Onasadya (sumptuous feast), and play Onakalikal (games). Onam is a festival that promises amazing fun with the vibes of festivities.
Pookalam is a type of Rangoli that is made especially on Onam with flowers. It is made during the 10 day celebrations from Atham till Thiruvonam. All over the state, Onam competitions are organised to bring out the zest of Onam and to preserve the spirit of the festival.
The sumptuous meal that gets served on Thiruvonam or Onam is mouth watering and everyone from the elderly to children indulge in several delicacies served on the banana leaf. There are about 30-65 vegetarian delicacies to savor on this festival. From varieties of banana chips to Payasam (dessert), there are various sumptuous dishes to fulfil everyone’s appetite. Many wait for this time of the year, when Onam Sadya is prepared, to especially mark the gleeful festivities.
People indulge in Onakalikal like Pulikali (folk art performers who are painted like tigers and hunters), tug of war and musical chair, the entire community comes out to celebrate Onam by inculcating their bit in these activities and enjoy the harvest festival
The Thiruvathirakali dance performance, that is executed by not less than 5,211 dancers is a massive affair that injects extreme energy in the dancers and spreads the festival vibe. This dance performance has also made its way into Guinness Book of World Records.