Onam is the biggest national festival of the ‘Gods Own Country’ Kerala. Onam is one of the most ancient Hindu festivals which is still survives in the Modern times and celebrated with a great devotion.
Onam Festival falls during the Malayalam month of Chingam which falls in the period of Aug – Sep and marks the homecoming of legendary King Mahabali; a great ruler, whose reign witnessed the golden era of Kerala, visits his subjects from the nether world on the day of Onam.
Carnival of Onam lasts for ten days with the onset of ‘Atham day’ which heralds the beginning of the ten day long Onam celebration and Thiruvonam is the final day the best of Kerala culture and tradition is brought out.
The festival commemorates the Vamana avatar of Lord Vishnu and the subsequent homecoming of the legendary Emperor Mahabali and his annual visit on Thiruvonam day from Patala (the underworld) to visit every Malayali home and meet his people.
Intricately decorated Pookalam (colorful floral carpets), ambrosial Onasadya, breathtaking Kerala’s famous Snake Boat Race, Colorful dance performances like exotic Kaikottikali dance, Thiruvathira, Thumbi Thullal, and Pulikali (Tiger Dance) were the performers painted like tigers in bright yellow, red and black beside the traditional ‘sadya’ – a Lucullan vegetarian banquet served on banana leaf are some of the most remarkable features of Onam – the harvest festival in Kerala.
Today Onam is also a celebrated across the boundaries of religion – celebrated by Hindus, Moslems, Christians and minority communities in the state with equal vigor.