Onam is a ‘Harvest Festival of Kerala,’ and is celebrated with joy at the start of the Malayalee calendar. It holds a special place in the hearts of Indians from the Southern part of the country (Keralites) and showcases the region’s rich cultural heritage, art forms, and culinary delights. On 29 August 2023, the Onam festival to be celebrated.
India, known for its richness and diverse cultures and festivals, is home to a diverse array of celebrations that reflect the country’s heritage and traditions. One such vibrant and unique festival is Onam, celebrated predominantly by the people of Kerala.
Festival Rituals of Onam
Onam commences with the Atham day and is concluded with Thiruvonam, which is the most significant and important day of the 10-day festival celebrations. This festival falls in the month of Chingam, which is the first month of the Malayalam calendar.
Onan is celebrated with happiness and enthusiasm across the world by Indians, especially in the state of Kerala. its preparation starts weeks in advance, with people cleaning and decorating their homes, drawing intricate floral designs called “Pookalam” at their doorsteps. The Pookalam is one of the very significant parts of this celebration which improve the aesthetic value of the festival and is created using a variety of vibrant flowers and is designed differently.
Another very notable aspect of the Onam festival is “Onam Sadya.” This traditional vegetarian feast is served on banana leaves and consists of a multitude of dishes, each with distinct flavors and textures.
Cultural Extravaganza of Onam
Onam is not just about rituals and feasting; it’s also an occasion when people from Kerala cherish their rich cultural heritage with full display. Various art forms such as
- Pulikali (tiger dance),
- and boat races, collectively known as the “Onam Vallamkali,”
are performed and it attracts the both locals and tourists
These performances add a colourful and vibrant dimension to the festival Onam, giving visitors a glimpse into the state’s artistic prowess.
Onam promote Unity and Harmony
Onam is a celebration by people from all walks of life, irrespective of their caste or religion, and manifests a sense of unity. It promotes a sense of unity and harmony, as people come together to celebrate the bounties of nature and the spirit of King Mahabali’s benevolence.
The festival’s message of inclusivity and togetherness resonates deeply with the people of Kerala.
Onam has also a mythical root and a deep history that traces back to the times of King Mahabali. King Mahabali was a legendary ruler and was famous and known for his just rule and benevolence. The festival is a kind of commemoration of the annual return of King Mahabali to Kerala, that symbolizes the prosperity and unity of the land.
It’s believed that during the festival, the spirit of King Mahabali visits his subjects, and they welcome him with grand celebrations.
Onam reflects Kerala’s cultural richness, unity, and the bond between people and the land. With its vibrant rituals, delectable cuisine, artistic performances, and, Onam offers a multi-dimensional experience that captures the essence of Kerala’s tradition and history.
Celebrating the Onam together is not just enjoying the festival but also honouring their past and creating memories for the future.
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