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Onam 2022: All you need to know about the 10 days of celebration

by Rishika Choudhury

Date & Time: Aug 30, 2022 7:00 AM

Read Time: 2 minute



Onam is a major harvest festival celebrated in Kerala, India's southernmost state. Onam represents the return of the demon king Mahabali. It is one of Kerala's most important festivals, celebrated throughout the state. The festival lasts ten days, and the Keralites celebrate it enthusiastically. Onam will take place this year from August 30 to September 8. According to the Malayalam calendar, Onam is celebrated on the day of Thiruvonam Nakshatram in the month of Chingam.

According to mythology, King Mahabali defeated the gods and established rule over the three worlds. Despite being a demon king, Mahabali was a benevolent ruler, and his subjects lived in peace and prosperity. This made the gods feel insecure, so they begged Lord Vishnu to intervene and help them.

Lord Vishnu incarnated as Vamana and duped Mahabali into submitting all of his land on Earth. Lord Vishnu, pleased with King Mahabali's devotion despite losing all his land, granted him a boon. Lord Vishnu permitted Mahabali to return to the kingdom and his people once a year. Every year, Kerala celebrates Onam to commemorate the return of King Mahabali.

Significance of each day of harvest:

1. Atham: The Onam celebration starts with Atham. People decorate their homes with yellow flower arrangements known as Pokkalam.

2. Chithira: Chithira is the second day of the festival. People clean their entire houses on this day. They also add another layer of flowers to the Pokkalam.

3. Chodhi: Onam’s third day is celebrated by meeting family members and exchanging gifts. New clothes, called Onakodi, and jewellery are the most common gifts.

4. Vishakam: The fourth day marks the preparation of Onam Sadhya, the Onam feast, and it is considered to be the most auspicious day of this festival.

5. Anizham: On the 5th day, the Vallamkali boat race (snake boat race) is conducted from the town of Aranmula on the Pamba river banks in Pathanamthitta.

6. Thriketta: Families return to their ancestral homes to exchange more gifts and to offer prayers.

7. Moolam: Temples start offering special sadhyas (feasts) for the people from this day. Other celebrations of dance and music, like the Puli Kali or Kaduva Kali begin.

8. Pooradam: The 8th day holds importance in festivities as the idols of Vamana and King Mahabali are made out of clay and placed in the centre of Pokkalam.

9. Uthradom: The festivities begin on a huge scale on the day of Uthradom. People begin preparation for traditional meals with fruits and vegetables.

10. Thiruvonam: The 10th day of the festival is the most crucial one of the Onam festivities. It is believed that the spirit of legendary King Mahabali visits Kerala on Thiruvonam. The festivities start in the early 
morning. On this day, the grand feast of Onam called Onam Sadhya is also prepared and served.

Also Read: Janmashtami 2022: Date, History, and Significance of the festival

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