Onam is one of those celebrations where the energy in Kerala permeates the atmosphere for ten days. The start of Chingam, the first month of the year according to the Malayalam calendar, and August and September according to the Gregorian calendar, coincides with the Malayali Hindus' formal new year.
History Behind Onam
According to Vaishnava mythology, King Mahabali vanquished the Gods and ruled all three planets. Gods implored Vishnu to govern Mahabali. Brahmin visited King Mahabali after Vishnu's fifth avatar. Vamana asked for three parcels of land from Mahabali. Vamana grew to cover the sky and netherworld when his wish was accomplished. Mahabali offered his head before Mahabali’s third step. Lord Vishnu was appeased and allowed Mahabali to visit his kingdom at Onam.
Celebrations for each day
The festival includes massive 10 days of celebrations, with each day resembling different aspects.
Day 1 - Atham
People visit temples to start the Onam season. At Thrippunithura in Kochi, where Mahabali was exiled from Earth, Atthachamayam is flagged off.
The monarch begins preparing for his trip to Kerala on this day. Atham is when people start decorating with Pookalam floral arrangements.
Day 2 - Chithira
India has a tradition of cleaning homes as the holiday season approaches. On the second day of the harvest festival, people in Kerala also do this, cleaning and freshening up their homes.
Day 3 - Chodhi
The Pookalam begins to expand in size on the third day of the festival when layers of various flowers are added. Families also go shopping because the Onam festival is known for new clothing and jewellery gifts. The festivity is enhanced by wearing the traditional Mundu and Kasavu saree. Since the pandemic, people have been more into shopping for online saree and sending it over to their loved ones.
Day 4 - Vishakam
Vishakam is a lucky Onam day. Each household member prepares Onam sadhya.
Each family cooks differently, but most make 26 great dishes. This day marks the start of the market's yearly harvest sale, keeping it busy.
Day 5 - Anizham
A vital part of the state's rich cultural legacy has been snake boat racing. The Aranmula Uthrattathi Vallamkali brings together many teams from over Kerala to compete with the snake boats and synchronized rowing talents. It is one of the significant activities that take place during Onam.
Day 6 - Thriketa
Most families visit their ancestral houses on this day to give gifts to their loved ones. By that time, more than five or six layers of various blooms covered the Pookalam.
Day 7 - Moolam
Moolam is full of festivities as families come and smaller versions of Onam Sadya (Onam special buffet supper) begin. On this day, most temples hold sadhyas. Puli Kali (Masked leopard dance) and Kaikotti Kali are performed at festivals.
Day 8 - Pooradam
On this day, Mahabali and Vamana sculptures are placed in the Pookalam. Mahabali is eventually invited to people's homes. The statue is called Onathappan. From this day forward, the Pookalam design has become more intricate.
Day 9 - Uthradam
It's Onam eve. This is the best day to buy fresh vegetables and fruits on Thiruvonam. Traditions suggest the king will spend the following four days blessing his subjects.
Day 10 - Thiruvonam
The feasts and fireworks are enjoyed on the final day of Onam or Thiruvonam. The much-anticipated Onasadhya is a family-wide endeavor that begins with an early bath and new attire.
Let’s Celebrate Onam
India, a nation with a diverse culture, has always been a center for celebrations. Even if there are celebrations of festivals every day, few of them get you anticipating their arrival. Kerala's Onam festival is a must-see event, and you will undoubtedly want to attend it once, twice, or numerous times.