Onam will be observed on Saturday, August 21, 2021.
The Onam festival celebration begins on Atham day (the day when Atham Nakshatra prevails) and continues for the next 10 days till Thiruvonam day.
The unique style of celebrations, with different kinds of sweets and delicacies that are prepared during the festival of Onam, is what makes Onam not just a festival in the state of Kerala but across the whole country. Onam is also celebrated widely in South Asian and Arabic countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, and Dubai because of the population density of Keralites in those countries.
As per the Solar Calendar followed by Malayali people, the festival of Onam is celebrated in Chingam month. Chingam month is known as Simha month in other solar calendars and Avani month in Tamil Calendar. The day when Nakshatra Thiruvonam prevails in the month of Chingam is considered for Onam celebrations.
According to Vaishnava mythology, King Mahabali had defeated all the Gods and was ruling in all three worlds. Unlike other demons, Mahabali was sweet and less torturous. People loved this demon king. Yet, the Gods felt insecure and asked Lord Vishu for interference.
Lord Vishnu disguised as Vamana, a Brahmin dwarf went to meet King Mahabali. Vamana is supposed to be Vishnu's fifth avatar. When the king asked for his wishes, Vamana replied with "three pieces of land." The king granted his wish, and he grew in size, appearing before all the three worlds. When he was about to reach heaven, King Mahabali offered his own head and Lord Vishu was impressed by this act of benevolence. He granted his wish that he could visit his kingdom during the time of Onam.
Here's a list of all the 10 days of the Onam festival:
To celebrate the arrival of King Mahabali, people decorate their houses with yellow flowers and have Pookalam (flower rangoli). A new layer is added after each passing day.
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The second day is usually deep cleaning of houses and making sure that everything is clean and neat. They also add another layer of flowers in Pookalam.
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On day 3, people buy gold, clothes, and giftsVishakam
This fourth day marks the start of Onam Sadhya. Families start the preparation of Sadhya. The number of dishes differs from family to family but usually, families make 26 delicacies.
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Aranmula Uthrattathi Vallamkali also called snake boat begins on the fifth day. This is the oldest river boat festival in Kerala. This marks the beginning of the Vallamkali, snake boat race.
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The office goers, school children, college students get off as Onam begins in a full swing. The Pookalam gets bigger after every passing day. This is the sixth day of Onam.
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This is the seventh day of the Onam festival. Families and relatives visit each other and temples start serving Sadhyas. People also start enjoying traditional art forms likes Kaikottikali and Puli Kali (leopard masquerade dance).
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On the 8th day, statues of Mahabali and Vamana are taken around the house and are placed in the center of Pookalam.
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It is highly believed that King Mahabali reaches the state on the 9th day. Hence, the festivities and the merriment begins. This is the most auspicious day and so, people start buying fresh vegetables and start cooking traditional meals.
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On the 10th day, people clean their houses, apply rice flour batter on the main entrance, dress up in traditional attire, saree, and veshti (dhoti) and enjoy the Sadhya feast. People get together and play games, do activities together, celebrate and dance to celebrate Onam. People give new clothes, also called Onakkodi, to each other.
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