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

Why Onam Is CelebratedWhy Onam Is Celebrated

Why Onam Is Celebrated: Onam, the vibrant and culturally significant harvest festival of Kerala, India, is celebrated with great enthusiasm by people of all ages and backgrounds. This joyous occasion holds deep historical and cultural roots, bringing together communities to honor their heritage and embrace the spirit of unity.

The Legend of King Mahabali

King Mahabali’s Benevolence and Reign

The story of Onam centers around the legendary King Mahabali, known for his benevolence and wisdom. His reign is often regarded as a golden age when all his subjects were content and prosperous.

The Arrival of Vamana

The festival gains its essence from the mythological tale of Lord Vishnu’s avatar, Vamana, who visited Kerala in the disguise of a Brahmin dwarf. He came to test Mahabali’s humility and benevolence. Why Onam Is Celebrated.

King Mahabali’s Sacrifice

King Mahabali’s sacrifice, offering his own head to Vamana, exemplifies his devotion and selflessness. This act pleased Lord Vishnu, who granted Mahabali the boon to visit his kingdom once a year.

Rituals and Traditions

Pookalam – The Floral Art

One of the most enchanting traditions of Onam is the creation of Pookalam, intricate and colorful floral arrangements laid at the entrance of homes. Each day sees the Pookalam grow in size, symbolizing the growing excitement for the festival.

Onam Sadya – The Grand Feast

The Onam Sadya, a grand vegetarian feast served on a banana leaf, is a hallmark of the celebrations. It features an array of traditional dishes and flavors that reflect Kerala’s rich culinary heritage.

Vallamkali – The Snake Boat Race

Vallamkali, the thrilling snake boat race, is a competitive and exhilarating spectacle that captures the spirit of unity and teamwork. It originates from the practice of boat racing during King Mahabali’s reign.

Cultural Extravaganza

Kaikottikali – The Clap Dance

Kaikottikali, a graceful clap dance performed by women, is a lively and colorful display of unity and rhythm. It portrays the joy and enthusiasm that permeate the festivities.

Pulikali – The Tiger Play

Pulikali, a unique folk art form, involves performers dressed as tigers and hunters. This playful representation of the hunting and capturing of tigers showcases the creative expression of the local artists.

Onathallu – The Martial Arts

Onam celebrations also feature Onathallu, a traditional martial arts performance. This showcases the physical prowess and discipline of the performers, while adding an element of excitement to the festivities.

Significance and Unity

Unity Beyond Differences

Onam serves as a unifying force, bringing people of different castes, religions, and backgrounds together to celebrate their shared heritage. It promotes the values of inclusivity and harmony.

Cultural Preservation

The festival plays a vital role in preserving Kerala’s rich cultural heritage, passing down traditions, stories, and art forms from one generation to the next.

Agricultural Reverence

Onam’s connection to the harvest season signifies gratitude towards nature and its bounties. It reminds people of their dependence on the land and the importance of sustainable agricultural practices.


Why Onam Is Celebrated: Onam, with its captivating legends, vibrant rituals, and harmonious celebrations, stands as a testament to Kerala’s deep-rooted cultural diversity and unity. It is a time to rejoice, appreciate the blessings of the harvest, and embrace the values of benevolence, humility, and togetherness.

FAQs: Why Onam Is Celebrated

  1. When is Onam celebrated?

    Onam is typically celebrated in the Malayalam month of Chingam, which usually falls in August or September.

  2. What is the significance of Pookalam?

    Pookalam symbolizes the welcoming of King Mahabali and the festivity of the season.

  3. Are non-residents of Kerala also part of the celebrations?

    Yes, people from all over India and the world participate in the Onam celebrations to experience its cultural richness.

  4. How long does the Onam festival last?

    The celebrations span over ten days, with each day having its own unique customs and traditions.

  5. Is Onam only about rituals and feasts?

    No, Onam is a holistic celebration that includes cultural performances, games, and various forms of art that showcase Kerala’s heritage.