The festival also marks the first month of the Malayalam calendar known as Chingam. This year the festival of Onam is celebrated on August 22 across the state of Kerala.
The festival of Onam is celebrated across the state of Kerala with full fervour and enthusiasm. Onam is the most popular festival in the state and is celebrated each year in August-September months.
The festival also marks the first month of the Malayalam calendar known as Chingam. This year the festival of Onam is celebrated on August 22 across the state of Kerala. Onam is also called Thiru-Onam or Thiruvonam (Sacred Onam Day) and is also known as Sravanmahotsav.
The festival is a 10-day affair and people of all ages celebrate the festival with equal enthusiasm. Each day is given a different name and there are specific celebrations on each day. There also are post-Onam celebrations in Kerala which adds to the ten-day festival.
Pookalams (floral rangoli), snake boat races, feasts, native art forms, processions, games and gifts—all of these are the essentials that make Onam the festival of happiness and merriment in full measure.
So here are the 10-days of Onam which signifies the festival’s celebrations across the state:
Day 1, Atham:
This day marks the beginning of the festival. People decorate their houses with yellow flowers known as Pookalam. With each passing day of the festival, the size of the Pookalam increases with the addition of flowers.
Day 2, Chithira:
This day marks the cleaning of the house as a custom of this festival. Another layer of yellow flowers is added to the Pookalam on the second day.
Day 3, Chodi:
On the third day of the festival, people begin shopping and gifting one another with new clothes, known as Onakodi, and jewellery. Another layer of flowers is added to the Pookalam
Day 4, Vishakam:
Considered to one of the most auspicious days of the festival, this is the day when preparation for the Onasadhya, or the Onam feast, is kickstarted.
Day 5, Anizham:
The Vallamkali (boat race) is flagged off on the fifth day from Aranmula, which is a small town located on the banks of Pamba river in Pathanamthitta.
Day 6, Thriketa:
Schools start closing on Day 6 for Onam celebrations and people start devoting all their time to the celebrations.
Day 7, Moolam:
This day marks the beginning of Ona Sadya and the dance performances. The state was decorated on this day.
Day 8, Pooradam:
Statues of Vamana and King Mahabali are cleaned and installed in the centre of the Pookalam.
Day 9, Uthradom:
People buy fresh vegetables and traditional meals are cooked. It’s believed that King Mahabali reaches the state on this day.
Day 10, Thiruonam:
People take an early bath, distribute gifts and go to temples for prayers. The grand Thiruona Sadya (Special meal for Onam) is prepared in all households. Competitions like dance and boat races continue across the state.