Something that ascends the charisma of God’s Own Country is Onam, for sure. This harvest festival, the state festival of Kerala, is very popular in India and is mainly celebrated with immense enthusiasm by people of Kerala.
It falls in the month of Chingam (first month of Malayalam calendar); which according to Gregorian calendar means in the month of August/September. Generally, it lasts for four to ten days and the first and last days of the same hold massive importance. The first day of Onam is known as Atham, while tenth day is called Thiruonam.
Everything between games, dance, songs, feasts, boats and flowers combine to make Onam such a grand celebration. Owing to this vibrancy, Government of India calls this time as “Tourist Week” and promotes Kerala extensively, especially during this time of the year. And indeed a lot of tourists plan their visit to Kerala during Onam to get an insight of its culture and the beauty, acclaimed worldwide.
In the Golden Era, there once lived a demon king named Mahabali in Kerala. During his reign people were very happy. But because of Mahabali’s growing success, envious gods decided to use his one shortcoming, Ego, to vanish his power. Still, owing to the good deeds he did, gods had to grant him a boon which allowed him to meet people to whom he felt attached.
And Onam is believed to be the time when Mahabali comes to visit.
Perhaps the most awaited part of Onam is the nine-course grand meal, Onasadya, prepared on the day of Thiruonam. This meals has about 11 to 13 dishes served on banana leaf and people eat it by sitting on a mat on the floor.
Another most exuberant aspect of Onam is the snake boat races, Vallamkali. The races are about team work and enthusiasm. Boats are decorated with garlands, spectators cheer and people dress their best.
Onam is also about many games, known as Onakalikal. While men try their hands onKutukutu, Ambeyyal (archery), Talappanthukali (involves ball), Attakalam and Kayyankali; women decorate their courtyard with Pookalam as a gesture to welcome King Mahabali. Women also perform folk dances such as Thumbi Thullal and Kaikotti kali. Adding on to the enthusiasm are other folk performances Pulikali and Kummatti kali.
One of the most prominent harvest festival in Kerala is Onam. It attracts large number of visitors in India and around for its rich cultural experience. Find more information to plan.