Kerala celebrates the annual festival of harvest ‘Onam’. The celebration, marked for 10 days, falls in the month of Chingam, which comes in the month of August-September as per the Gregorian calendar. This year, the festival of Onam began on August 22 and will conclude on September 2.
According to ancient manuscripts, this day marks the annual homecoming of the famous king Mahabali. The first day of Onam, also known as Uthraadam, is believed to be Onam eve. It is on this day when King Mahabali returned to Kerala. All the days hold special significance related to the celebrations.
Here is what the 10 days of Onam signify:
August 22, Atham: The first day of Onam begins with decorating the home with yellow flowers known as Pookalam.
August 23, Chithira: On the 2nd day of the festival, people clean their entire houses, adding another layer of flowers to the Pookalam.
August 24, Chodi: On the 3rd day of Onam, the members of the family get together and exchange gifts, known as Onakodi and jewelry.
August 25. Vishakam: The 4th day, also considered the most auspicious day, marks the preparation of Onam Sadhya.
August 26, Anizham: On the 5th day, people hold the annual boat race known as the Vallamkali boat race. It takes place from the town Aranmula on the banks of the Pamba river in Pathanamthitta.
August 27, Thriketta: On the 6th day, the schools close and children begin their preparation for the devotional prayers.
August 28, Moolam: The 7th day marks the beginning of Onam Sadhya and sees several dance performances across the state.
August 29, Pooradam: On the 8th day, devotees clean and place the idols of Vamana and King Mahabali in the centre of the Pookalam.
August 30, Uthradom: On the 9th day, people buy fruits and vegetables to prepare the traditional meals.
August 31, Thiruonam: On the 10th day, all the preparations are done. People exchange gifts, offer prayers. They also prepare Thiruvona Sadya (special feast for Onam) to celebrate festivities.