Onam is an Indian festival that celebrates the homecoming of the mythical King Mahabali. It is celebrated by the community with a ten-day harvest. For this year’s Onam festival, we give you a brief guide in the history and traditions of this cultural celebration. Find out the dates for yearly Onam festival.
- In 2012: Onam is on August 29 (Wednesday)
- In 2013: Onam is on September 16 (Monday)
- In 2014: Onam is on September 7 (Sunday)
|Free Onam Cards
When is Onam Celebrated
This festival is held at the beginning of the month of Chingam. On the Malayalam Calendar (Kollavarsham), this is the first month. This 2012, Onam will be celebrated from August 28 to 31; take note that the most important day of Onam, Thiru Onam, is the second day of the festival (August 29, 2012 Wednesday). Also significant is that Atham, the day which marks the beginning of rituals for this celebration, is ten days before Thiru Onam.
Where is Onam Celebrated
Onam is commemorated in the state of Kerala, located in southern India. Locals eagerly await this festival because it is the biggest celebration of the year. The state government also celebrates Tourism Week in Kerala at the same time to promote Indian culture as showcased during the celebration and to attract people from around the world to be part of a cultural tradition. If you want to see the most spectacular festivities, go to Kochin, Thrissur, Trivandrum, and Kottayam.
How is Onam Celebrated
To welcome King Mahabali, people decorate the front of their houses with pookalam. These are beautiful flower arrangements with different patterns are placed on the ground. Locals celebrate by wearing new clothes and feasting on food served on banana leaves. There is also a wide range of activities to participate in such as dancing, snake boat races, sports, and games.
What Rituals are Performed During Onam
Atham marks the start of observing rituals ten days before Onam. People begin this day with an early bath, prayers, and materials to create their pookalams in time for Onam. The creation of these floral decorations continue up to the first day of Onam, and locals also participate in pookalam competitions organized by different organizations
During Onam, the grand feast known as Onam Sadhya or Onasadya is served on the most important day. The Indian cuisine served during this feast is sophisticated and diverse, teeming with rich food heritage and traditional cooking. We recommend experiencing this feast in Trivandrum, which showcases special dishes for this celebration.