Celebrating the Traditions of Onam
By Monami Mitra | Aug 07, 2018
Celebrated with fervour in Kerala, Onam is an annual event that marks the rice harvesting festival as well as celebrates the legend of Mahabali. As per the legend, the festival is celebrated to commemorate the reign of King Mahabali, which was also known as the golden era. It is believed that the king descends to earth for these days.
Ever wonder what rituals takes place during this 10-day festival and what is the significance behind it? Well, we definitely have. And so, we list down the important rituals that are followed during Onam and the reason behind the same.
While you are reading about the traditions of Onam, don’t forget the tradition of gifting to your loved ones! Now, browse and buy aesthetically pleasing and handy kitchen appliances from the comfort of your home simply clicking here.
Day 1 Atham
This is the day that King Mahabali starts his journey to descend to earth. The day is begun by people visiting the temple in the morning, and decorating the compounds of their house with a flower decoration known as pookalam.
Traditionally, the first day, the pookalam is at the smallest, and it starts increasing in size and complexity of design over the 10-day period.
Day 2 Chithira
This day a new layer of flowers is added to the pookalam. Families usually get together and plan for the upcoming days, so that the festival can be celebrated without a hitch. Last minute shopping is usually taken care of on this day.
Day 3 Chodhi
This is the day that families and loved ones usually visit each other with gifts. The pookalam is added with another layer of specific flowers to increase its size.
Day 4 Vishakam
This is the day from whence the preparation of Onam sadya begins. Every member of the family tries to contribute something to the sadya. Usually, 26 dishes are prepared for this feast. This day is considered to be one of the most auspicious. Pookalam gets more flowers added to it to increase its size. By now, you can see the intricate designs and colours that each pookalam has.
Day 5 Anizham
The fifth day generates a lot of excitement, since the grand snake boat race is flagged off. The boats are called chundan vallams, whereas the event is known as Vallamkali. This team event takes place in the Pamba at Aranmulla and is quite a famous spectacle to see. The brilliance of this race is the fact that every team has to be perfectly synchronized to move the boat forward. A single error by an individual oarsman will capsize the boat immediately.
Apart from this, pookalam gets another layer of flowers added to it.
Day 6 Thriketa
The sixth day brings across a lot of cultural programs being conducted all over the state like Pulli kali, Kaikottikali and Kayyinkalli. There is a palpable energy in the air, as families visit their ancestral homes.
Day 7 Moolam
On this day, again the pookalam is created from scratch with another layer being added to this flower decoration. A swing beautifully decorated with flowers is also added in order to celebrate the King Mahabali’s homecoming.
Day 8 Pooradam
The eight day of the Onam carnival keeps building more and more excitement for the festival. People make Onathappan, pyramid-style clay idols representing Mahabali and Vamana, which are then taken around the home and then kept in the middle of the pookalams. This is to invite king Mahabali to their homes.
Day 9 Uthradam
The day of the Onam eve is usually declared a public holiday in Kerala, as it is the penultimate day of the festival. Locals at times also refer to Uthradam as first day of Onam and the tenth day as the second day of Onam. Homes are cleaned thoroughly and people gear up for the main festival on Thiruvonam.
Day 10 Thiruvonam
Finally, the day that everyone is waiting for. Houses are decorated, people dress in their onnakodi (new clothes) and immerse Onathappan in water. Also, people partake from the feast of Onam, Onasadya, that is typically served on a banana leaf. Cultural programs and fireworks are a common occurrence on this day. After this, Onam celebrations are carried on even on the eleventh and twelfth day.
Hack the Festival!
Of course, if you are a millennial like us, you probably wait till the last minute to get your thing in order. Fear not, we got you sorted there as well.
Let’s start with the gifting options. You probably have quite a few relatives that you have to gift something to. Instead of buying an impersonal gift card, why not give them a stylish kitchen appliance like a hand blender or a something like a wet grinder or an OTG, which you know that they will definitely utilize. Even an electric kettle can be a very useful gift for someone staying alone. It will let them make pasta or boil eggs quite easily.
Apart from the gifting ritual, make sure that you have all your outfits, shoes and accessories sorted the day before to avoid the hassle of what to wear and how to style it at the last minute. Keep an iron at home to quickly remove any creases from your new outfits before wearing them on those days.
Now, that you know the significance of Onam, we hope you have a happy and fun-filled Onam. We, from the entire team of Bajaj Electricals, wish you Thiruvonam Aashamsakal!