Onam 2022: Celebrated in Kerala, Onam is the biggest harvest festival that symbolises demon king Mahabali’s homecoming. The Keralites observe the festival for 10 days. This year, the festival started on August 30 and will continue till September 8. According to the large Malayalam calendar, Onam is marked on the day of Thiruvonam Nakshatram in the month of Chingam.
Significance of Onam:
As per Indian mythology, on this day, King Mahabali managed to conquer the Gods and rule over the three worlds. Despite being a demon king, he was a benevolent ruler and his subjects loved him. All of this made the Gods insecure, so they asked Lord Vishnu for help.
Lord Vishnu turned himself into Vamana and tricked the king into giving back all the land he had on Earth. However, Lord Vishnu decided to grant King Mahabali a boon after seeing his devotion towards him. The King was allowed to return to the kingdom and his people once a year. Kerala celebrates Onam to mark king Mahabali’s return every year.
Here’s all you need to know about each day:
Atham: On the first day of Onam, people decorate their homes with yellow flowers known as Pokkalam.
Chithira: The believers clean their houses and add another layer of flowers to the Pokkalam.
Chodhi: On the third day of the festival, people meet their relatives, and friends. They also exchange gifts and buy new clothes.
Vishakam: The fourth day marks the preparation of Onam Sadhya, the Onam feast. It is considered to be the most auspicious day of Onam.
Anizham: The Vallamkali boat race (snake boat race) is conducted on this day. It begins in Pathanamthitta at the town of Aranmula on the banks of the Pamba River.
Thriketta: On day six, families go back to their ancestral homes to offer prayers.
Moolam: You get special Sadhyas (feasts) in the temples. People perform dances and sing songs on this day.
Pooradam: Another significant day of Onam is marked by making the idols of Vamana and King Mahabali with clay. These are then placed in the centre of Pokkalam.
Uthradom: Traditional meals are prepared on this day.
Thiruvonam: The 10th and the last day of Onam is the most crucial one. It is believed that the spirit of King Mahabali visits Kerala on this day. The festivities start in the early morning with a grand feast called Onam. Sadhya is also prepared.