How Onam Is Celebrated | Onam 2023: What Is The Significance And How It Is Celebrated

How Onam Is CelebratedHow Onam Is Celebrated

How Onam Is Celebrated: Onam, the vibrant and joyous festival of Kerala, holds a special place in the hearts of its people. This annual harvest festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and zeal, honoring the rich cultural heritage and traditions of the state. The festival, which usually falls in the month of August or September, is marked by a series of colorful rituals, feasts, and cultural events that showcase the essence of Kerala’s traditions. Let’s delve into the enchanting world of Onam and discover how it is celebrated.

The Legend of Onam: King Mahabali’s Homecoming

The story of Onam revolves around the legendary King Mahabali, who is believed to visit his subjects during this auspicious time. According to mythology, King Mahabali was a generous and righteous ruler. His reign was so prosperous that it invoked the jealousy of the gods, leading to his banishment to the netherworld. However, on Onam, he is allowed to return to Kerala and his subjects celebrate his homecoming with grand festivities. How Onam Is Celebrated.

Floral Artistry: Pookalam

One of the most captivating aspects of Onam is the creation of Pookalam, intricate and colorful flower arrangements made on the floors of homes and public spaces. People gather a variety of vibrant flowers to design stunning patterns that depict various themes and motifs. This tradition not only adds to the festive charm but also fosters a sense of unity and creativity within the community.

Onakkodi: New Attire for the Occasion

Onam is a time to put on new clothes, known as Onakkodi, which symbolize prosperity and new beginnings. People adorn themselves in traditional Kerala attire, with women wearing elegant sarees and men donning the traditional dhoti and shirt. The streets come alive with a riot of colors as everyone dresses their best to celebrate the occasion.

Sadya: The Grand Feast

A highlight of Onam celebrations is the grand feast, known as Sadya. It’s a lavish spread of vegetarian delicacies served on banana leaves. Sadya typically includes a variety of dishes, ranging from rice, sambar, avial, and thoran to payasam and more. The community aspect of this feast is remarkable, as people invite neighbors, friends, and family to share in the festive meal, fostering a sense of togetherness and camaraderie.

Vallamkali: The Snake Boat Race

Vallamkali, the traditional snake boat race, is a captivating event that adds a thrilling edge to Onam celebrations. Colorfully decorated long boats, manned by enthusiastic rowers, compete in a spirit of unity and camaraderie. The race not only commemorates Kerala’s historic culture but also ignites a sense of pride and excitement among spectators.

Pulikali: The Playful Tiger Dance

Pulikali, the vibrant and energetic tiger dance, is a visual treat during Onam festivities. Men dressed as tigers and hunters perform intricate dance moves, showcasing their agility and creativity. This lively and entertaining performance adds a touch of playful exuberance to the celebrations, leaving spectators amazed and amused.

Kaikottikali: Clap and Dance

Kaikottikali is a traditional folk dance of Kerala that involves rhythmic clapping and coordinated movements. Women dressed in traditional attire form circles and perform this dance, creating a mesmerizing spectacle. This dance not only celebrates the joy of Onam but also upholds the spirit of unity and cultural identity.

Onathappan: Welcoming King Mahabali

Onathappan, also known as Thrikkakara Appan, is a symbolic representation of King Mahabali. It is a small pyramid-like structure made from mud and adorned with flowers. The structure is believed to house the spirit of King Mahabali during the festival. This ritual is a heartfelt gesture to welcome the revered king back to his kingdom.


How Onam Is Celebrated: Onam is not merely a festival; it’s an embodiment of Kerala’s rich cultural heritage, unity, and vibrant traditions. The celebrations encapsulate a sense of community, togetherness, and respect for nature. From the colorful Pookalam to the sumptuous Sadya and the lively dance performances, every element of Onam reflects the spirit of the people and their reverence for their roots.

FAQs: How Onam Is Celebrated

  1. What is the significance of Onam?

    Onam holds immense cultural and traditional significance in Kerala. It commemorates the legendary homecoming of King Mahabali and showcases the state’s unity, art, and culinary excellence.

  2. When is Onam celebrated?

    Onam is typically celebrated in the months of August or September, during the Malayalam month of Chingam.

  3. How is Pookalam created?

    Pookalam is created using a variety of vibrant flowers arranged in intricate patterns on the ground. It requires creativity, skill, and a keen eye for aesthetics.

  4. What is the meaning behind Pulikali?

    Pulikali, or the tiger dance, is a playful performance that showcases the agility and energy of the dancers. It adds an element of entertainment and excitement to the festivities.

  5. Is Onam only celebrated in Kerala?

    While Onam’s roots are in Kerala, its popularity has spread beyond the state’s borders. People of Malayali origin around the world celebrate this festival with equal enthusiasm and fervor.