Onam is a festival celebrated by the people of Kerala.The festival falls during the Malayalam month of Chingam and marks the commemoration of Vamana avatara of Vishnu and the subsequent homecoming of the mythical King Mahabali who Malayalees consider as their King (naduvazhi). In Kerala, it is the festival celebrated with most
number of cultural elements such as Vallam Kali, Pulikali, Pookkalam, Onathappan, Thumbi Thullal, Onavillu, Kazhchakkula, Onapottan,Atthachamayam in thripunithura etc.
Onam is reminiscent of Kerala’s agrarian past, as it is considered to be a harvest festival.The following song is often sung over Onam:-
“Maveli nadu vaneedum kalam,
amodhathode vasikkum kalam
kallavum illa chat
balamaranangal kelppanilla ”
The ten day(atham, chithira, chothi, visagam, anizham, thriketta, moolam, pooradam, uthradam and thiruonam) Onam festival is considered to be flagged off with
Atthachamayam in Thripunithara. The main center of festival is at Vamanamoorthy Thrikkakara temple at Kochi, believed to be the ancient capital of King Mahabali.The
temple is dedicated to Lord Vamana and is directly linked to the mythological background of Onam.
The onapookalam is also known as floral carpet, is made out with several varieties of flowers.onapookalam is representing Mahabali and Vamana are placed in the dung-
plastered courtyards in front of the house along with the Pookalam, and beautifully decorated with flowers.All over Kerala, Pookalam competitions are a common sight on
Onam Sadhya :
Onam sadhya is another very indispensable part of Thiruvonam.The feast is served on plantain leaves and consists of about 26 dishes including Banana Chips, Pappadam
Various vegitable curries such as :-
Thoran, mezhukuvarati, kaalan, olan, avial, sambar, rasam, dal with ghee, eriseri, pickle etc..
One of the main item in Onasadhya is Payasam.You can have payasam as it is or you could mix it with banana and pappadam.Payasam is sweet which made using milk,
jaggry,semiya, Palada etc.
Music and Dance :
Traditional dance forms including Thiruvathira, Kummattikali, Pulikali, Thumbi Thullal etc.are performed as part of celebrations all over Kerala at this time.
Thiruvathirakali is a women’s dance performed in a circle around a lamp(Nilavilakku).
Other customs :
The tradition of buying and wearing new clothes for the occasion of Onam is called the Onakkodi.During the Onam, Hindus install an image of Thrikkakara Appan or
Onatthappan in their home.