Onam is the most popular and important festival in Kerala in
. The Thiruonam festival of Malayalis rises above all barriers of religion, caste, creed and financial status. Thiruonam 2013 date is September 16. It is believed that during the four days of Onam festival, the legendary Asura King Mahabali (Maveli) comes to visit his subjects. Malayalis prepare floral carpets, sumptuous foods and sweets to welcome Mahabali. First Onam is on September 15. India
Onam is celebrated over four days -
- Onnam Onam or First Onam is on September 15.
- Second Onam or the most important day of Onam is the Thiruonam and it is on September 16
- Third Onam or Munnam Onam is on September 17.
- Fourth Onam or Naalam Onam is on September 18.
During these ten days children and women prepare the floral design called Ona-Pookkalam in front of their houses to welcome King Maveli. Today there are Pookalam competitions organized by various organizations.
New clothes, known as Onakodi, are exchanged by family members. Preparation for the grand feast on Onam begins in advance.
On the Tiruvonam day members of the family gather together, usually at the ancestral home, for Onasadya (traditional Onam feast) served on plantain leaves. The significance of the Ona Sadya is established from the popular Malayalam saying “kanam vittum onam unnanam” - Onam feast should be prepared even if one has to sell all the seedlings that are kept to sow for next harvest.
Onam is traditionally a harvest festival and earlier the people of Kerala used to entirely depend on agriculture.
After the Onasadya, women and children engage in folk games, songs and dances like Oonjalattom (soaring high on the swing), Thumbithullal - a traditional folk dance, Kaikottikkali or Thiruvathirakali.
Onam is also time for snake boat races (Vallam Kali) and there are numerous competitions including the famous Aranmula Vallam Kali.
Apart from this there are other traditional rural arts and games like Pulikali, Kummati kali, Ona Thallu etc take place during the period.
Malayalis are today spread around the world and Onam transports each Malayali to their home in Kerala.
Each malayali has sweet memories of Onam and it is dusted out and remembered with a nostalgic smile on every Onam.
Thiruonam in 2012 was on August 29.
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