Onam is a famous festival celebrated in South India, more importantly, Kerala. The inhabitants of Kerala wait every year to celebrate ten days of festivities in the month of Chingam, which falls between August and September. It’s another form of harvest event, celebrated specifically by Keralites. It is a way to thank God for the blessings. The legend says that great king of Kerala visits this place every year to make sure that the inhabitants are alright. This festival is celebrated in his honour. The king’s name was mahabali. The whole ten days are passed in feats, dressing up, shopping, gifts exchanges and family gatherings.
The festival starts on the avittam nakshatram of Chingam. The ten day festival is spent in carrying out various rituals. Some of them are Mavali Puja, One Kazhcha and Onathallu. These rituals were born in different part of the country, and have been continued since centuries. Another part of the event is adult and children games, which add another spice to the celebration. These games are not only representative of people’s joy but also mark the significance of this event in Kerala. Few examples of games are Kaikotti kali and Thumbi Thullal. Thumbi Thullal is a form of traditional dance performed by Keralite women. Another feature of the festival is Onam Sadya. So is Thiruvonam, which is considered an important day of Onam.
This is when the grand feast is prepared. Apart from food, there is a lot of effort involved in adoring the house such as making colored rangoli designs with rice paste or with flowers in front of the home doors. Another custom is the exchange of gifts especially clothes.
In Malyalam, it is called giving Onakkodi. This is a ritual practised by the adults as they give gifts to the younger ones. Keralites are settled all around the world so this is one part of the year where people come from different parts of the world and gather in Kerala to celebrate Onam.