Onam is a popular harvest festival celebrated in Kerala, southern India. It is celebrated during the month of “Chingam”, which falls in the month of August or September. And the Onam festival lasts for ten days. The Onam festival is observed with great enthusiasm and fervor by people from all walks of life. In this blog, we will explore the significance of Onam, the various rituals and customs associated with it, and the popular Onam songs that are played during the festivities. We will also discuss the plans for Onam 2023 and how you can make the most of this auspicious occasion.
When is Onam 2023?
Onam 2023 begins on August 20, 2023 (Sunday) and ends on August 31, 2023 (Thursday).Onam 2023 Date
The Significance of Onam
Onam memorializes the return of King Mahabali, a mythical king who was thought to have ruled Kerala in ancient times. According to legend, King Mahabali was a loving and respected ruler of his subjects. Lord Vishnu eventually defeated him by taking the form of Vamana, a dwarf Brahmin, and asking the king for three paces of land. King Mahabali agreed, and Lord Vishnu took his first two steps, covering the entire earth and heaven. King Mahabali offered his own head as the third step, and Lord Vishnu granted him a boon to visit his people once a year. This annual visit is known as Onam.
Rituals and Customs
A ten-day festival called Onam is observed with a lot of enthusiasm. Atham, the first day of Onam, is when the festival officially kicks off. On this day, people prepare traditional foods like Onasadya, a vegetarian feast served on banana leaves, and decorate their homes with flower petals, or pookalam. The feast, which is regarded as the festival’s high point and typically consists of about 26 dishes.
‘Chithira’ is the second day of Onam, and it is when the preparations for the grand procession of Thrippunithura Athachamayam begin. The procession is a colorful spectacle, with participants dressed in traditional attire and carrying various cultural artifacts. The procession begins at Thrippunithura temple and concludes at Puthankavu temple.
Thiruvonam, or the ninth day of Onam, is the most important day of the festival. On this day, people dress up and visit their friends and family. They also participate in cultural activities such as Vallamkali, a boat race on the Pamba River. People light lamps and place them around their homes in the evening to welcome King Mahabali. The celebrations continue until the following day, Avittam.
Onam is also a celebration of music and dance, and several popular Onam songs are played during the festivities. These songs are usually in Malayalam, Kerala’s native language, and have melodic tunes and meaningful lyrics.
Among the most popular Onam songs are:
- Maveli naadu vaaneedum kaalam – “Maveli naadu vaaneedum kaalam” is a popular Onam song in Kerala, India, honoring the memory of the benevolent King Mahabali and his prosperous and happy reign.
- Onappaattin Thaalam Thullum – This is one of the famous Onam song in Malayalam (The offcial language of Kerala)
- Thiruvona Pularithan: This is a popular Thiruvonam song that is played during the celebrations. It discusses the natural beauty of Kerala during the monsoon season, as well as how the festival brings people together.
- Onam Vannallo: Another popular Onam song that celebrates the festival’s joy and happiness. It has a catchy melody and lyrics that make it popular among people of all ages.
- You can find several Onam songs and its lyrics here.
Onam is a secular and important festival celebrated in Kerala, India. People from all walks of life are welcome to attend the festival, which is known for its diversity and inclusivity. The festival lasts ten days and features vibrant and colorful events, including traditional music and dance performances.
While Onam has its origins in Hindu mythology, it is not restricted to any one caste or religion. People from all communities are welcome to attend the festivities, demonstrating the inclusiveness and diversity of Indian culture.
One of the festival’s main draws is the elaborate and diverse food that is prepared over the course of ten days. Onasadya, a traditional vegetarian feast served on banana leaves, is a must-try for anyone visiting Kerala during the festival.
Aside from the food, Onam is a time for friends and family to exchange gifts. Popular gifts exchanged during the festival include gold coins, silver coins, clothing, accessories, and gadgets.
Onam is a festival that commemorates the return of the Demon King Mahabali, a mythical king who is thought to have ruled Kerala in ancient times. King Mahabali was a just and benevolent ruler who was beloved and respected by his subjects, according to legend.
Onam is a celebration of not only King Mahabali’s return, but also of India’s rich cultural heritage. The festival celebrates the diversity and inclusivity of Indian culture, as well as the importance of unity in diversity.
Ultimately, Onam is a beautiful and secular festival celebrated with great zeal and fervor in Kerala, India. Its inclusiveness and diversity distinguish it as a one-of-a-kind celebration, and its rich cultural heritage makes it a must-see for anyone visiting India. Onam is an experience that you will never forget, whether you are a local or a tourist.