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Onam Festival Kerala

(Last Updated 01 Feb, 2023)

  • Dates :

    28/08/2023 - 31/08/2023

  • Location :


In Kerala, India, the Onam Festival is the most well-known holiday. The Kerala harvest festival, also known as the festival of rain flowers, is a ten-day celebration enthusiastically observed throughout Kerala. It is celebrated during Chingam, a Malayalam calendar month that typically runs from mid-August to mid-September.

King Mahabali, a demon-king visited "Kerala" at the Onam festival, hence the festival is celebrated in his honor. When Onam is observed, Kerala presents visitors with a completely new world of unique flavors, beautiful aromas, and entrancing displays of beauty.

History of the Onam in Kerala

The legend says that King Mahabali of Kerala, despite being a demon-king was a very just and reasonable. He was genuinely concerned about the welfare of his people. As a result, his subjects not only owed allegiance to him but also loved and respected him. This mutual relationship of love and harmony made the Gods in heaven jealous, for King Mahabali belonged to the demon race.

Gods were desperate and urged Lord Vishnu to consider the matter. So, in the guise of a dwarf, Lord Vishnu went to the royal court of Mahabali, begging for alms. When asked by the king, he said he would like to have only that much as he could cover by foot. The king was deceived because he thought that the steps of a dwarf would cover very little area. However, Lord Vishnu covered the land and the sea in one step. His second step incorporated the heavens, and his third, the head of the king.

However, the king was granted one wish, which was that he could return to his beloved people once each year. Therefore, Onam is celebrated to welcome this king, fondly remembered to this day.

Description of the Onam in Kerala

Several customs and traditions are associated with the festival of Onam. The houses are cleaned, and the courtyards are beautifully decorated with designs made of flowers (pookkalam). In the evenings, oil lamps illuminate the squares. Women are seen performing the Thiruvathirakali dance around the lights.

People wear new dresses. A grand lunch forms part of the festivities, and the sweet dish payasam is an essential item on the menu. Many boat races are also organized when this festival is celebrated in Kerala. Every household in Kerala enthusiastically participates in the high-spirited merriment. The ceremonial elegance and splendor of Onam are unmatched by any other Kerala festival.

When is Onam celebrated in Kerala?

Onam is celebrated each year in the Malayalam month of Chingam. It falls either at the end of August or at the beginning of September.

Special Highlights of the Onam Festival in Kerala

  • Enjoy 26 authentic Kerala dishes.
  • Witness the thrilling snake boat race.
  • Take part in the Pulikali body painting competition or parade.

If you are planning to visit Kerala during the Onam festival, then book your Kerala tour packages with us.

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