Onam is a traditional 10 day harvest festival that marks the coming of mythical king Mahabali. It is one of the most important festivals in Kerala.
This 10 day festival has a significant ceremonial importance and the temple authorities perform various rites and rituals on the days. There are different names for each day, known as Atham, Chithira, Chodhi, Vishakam, Anizham, Thriketa, Moolam, Pooradam, Uthradom and Thiruvonam.
It occurs at the beginning of Chingam, the first month of the Malyalam calendar. This year, Onam will be celebrated on 11th September.
After three months of heavy rains when the sky becomes clear, forests more green, when the flowers are in bloom and when the lakes and rivers are overflowing, it is the time to reap the harvest and celebrate. The festival also highlights Kerala’s culture, history and beliefs.
People put out flower mats known as “Pookalam” in the door way of their homes to welcome the king. Snake boat races are also organised. Puli Kali and the Kaikottikkali dance are the major attractions of the festival.
Another ritual is to prepare twenty one curries and sweet payasam. Rice, sambar, rasam, aviyal, pachadi, puliyinchi, thoran, errisery, thenga choru are some of the items which are served. This grand meal served on a banana leaf is known as “onasadya”.