The harvest festival of Kerala, Onam is one of the festivals that’s is celebrated to mark the homage of Vaamana Avatar of Lord Vishnu. Also, it is celebrated for the homecoming of the mythical King Mahabali from the underworld.
The festival celebrations starts with a fortnight of the Malayalam New Year and continue for ten days. The festival is marked by rituals, traditional cuisine, dance and music. For the next few days, in every Kerala household, the mouth-watering vegetarian spread comprising 26 dishes, called as ‘Onam Sadhya’ will be served.
Onam Sadhya (Feast)
The Onam Sadhya is served on a traditional banana leaf, which comprises 13 to 15 curries, traditional pickles, papadam (papad), sambar, rasam, puliseri, payasam (kheer), yogurt, avial (mixed vegetables with coconut), plantain chips, thoran (dry curry with grated coconut), olan (pumpkin cooked in coconut milk and ginger) and more.
The festival is celebrated for three days, starting with first Onam which takes place on Thursday, followed by the most important day ‘Thiru Onam’ which is on Friday and third Onam on Saturday.
On all the three days, the major meal of the day is Onam Sadya Which is consumed on a plantain leaf.
Onam Special Attire
On the occasion, South Indian women preferably wear the traditional attire – white saree with golden borders, while men go for same colour shirt and mundu.
Onam Special Pookalam (Rangoli)
For the festival, people make pookalam – rangoli designed using flowers. Also, in some areas, people arrange pookalam competitions.
There is a tradition to play games known as Onakalikal. People play different games from Pulikali, a folk art where performers are painted like tigers and hunters; and Vadamvali, tug of war; to Kaserakali, musical chair.