The festival of harvest 'Onam' is celebrated every year in Kerala and by the Malayalee community across the world. According to the Gregorian calendar, the celebration is marked in the Chingam month on the 22nd Nakshatra Thiruvonam that comes in August and September. The celebrations start on Atham Day and go on for ten days till Thiruvonam day which is considered as the festival's most auspicious day.
This year, the festivities of Onam has started today, 12 August and will end on 23 August. While the main celebrations will take place on 21 August.
Significance of Onam:
As per legends, it is believed that the festival of Onam is celebrated to commemorate King Mahabali, who was said to be the descendant of a Brahmin sage named Kashyapa, the grandson of Prahlada, and the great-grandson of Hiranyakashipu. Kerala's harvesting festival, Onam is the grand annual homecoming of King Mahabali, as suggested by scriptures.
King Mahabali returned to Kerala on the first day of Onam which is also known as Uthraadam.
Take a look at the day-wise festivities of Onam below:
12 August (Atham): People decorate their house with yellow flowers. The flowers are called Pookalam.
13 August (Chithira): Cleaning of the entire house takes place on the second day. Also, another layer of flowers is added to the Pookalam.
14 August (Chodi): On this day, family members meet each other and exchange gifts called Onakodi and jewelry.
15 August (Vishakam): Considered as one of the most auspicious days of Onam, people prepare for the Onam Sadhya on the fourth day of the festival.
17 August (Thriketta): Kids start their preparation for the prayers. The schools remain shut on this day.
18 August (Moolam): On this day, Onam Sadhya begins and many dance performances take place all over the state.
19 August (Pooradam): Idols of King Mahabali and Vamana are cleaned by the devotees on the eight-day in the Pookalam's centre.
20 August (First Onam or Uthradom): To prepare the traditional meals, people buy fruits and vegetables on this day.
21 August (Thiruonam Onam): People offer prayers and exchange gifts with each other. As a part of the celebration, people also prepare Thiruvona Sadya (a special feast).
22 August (Third Onam or Avittom): The immersion of the Onathappan idol takes place as devotees prepare for Mahabali's return journey to Patal. After Mahabali's departure, people also clean the Pookalam which marks the conclusion of Onam festivities.
23 August (Fourth Onam or Chatayam): With Pulikali dance performances and boat races in various districts, Kerala tourism continues the Onam Week program.