10 ways to celebrate Onam 

Posted on September 06 2019 at 06:47 AM



The end of monsoon is marked by the celebration of harvest festival-Onam. Onam is one of the most vibrant festivals celebrated with a lot of love. According to legends, Onam is the celebration of the homecoming of Emperor Mahabali, who is believed to be an avatar of Lord Vishnu. The festival is celebrated in the Malayalam month called Chingam and continued for 10 days. Onam brings families together to celebrate unity, love and prosperity. Onam is also called the festival of flowers as colourful flower arrangements are made for 10 continuous days. Onam celebrations are marked with different activities like:

1.Pookkalam 

For 10 consecutive days, the family members collect flowers of different colours and types from the surroundings and create the flower arrangements called the Pookalam in front of the house. Every family member gets involved in the making of the Pookalalm while singing traditional songs. Pookkalam resembles the colourful rangolis made during the festivals in other states. Designing and preparing the flower arrangement is a major competition in schools, colleges and workspaces where Onam is celebrated. The celebrations are highlighted with men and women in Kerala Mundu and Kerala saree respectively.

2.Worshipping Onathappan

Onathappan also called Thrikkakara Appan is a structure made of clay or mud represents King Mahabali. The 4 faced pyramids like structure with a flat top or a corn shaped structure are placed in rice flour decked with flowers. Poojas are performed to welcome the homecoming of Emperor Mahabali. The pyramid structure is also placed in the middle of the Pookalam. The four faces of the structure represent four stages of a man’s life.   

3.Pulikali(tiger dance) 

Onam celebration is highlighted with Pullikali. Men paint their body like that of a tiger adorned with the tail. Another set of men dressed like hunters with dummy guns are also present. Here they showcase the act of tigers being hunted by the hunters. The whole act is accompanied by drummers and cheering crowd creating a celebratory vibe.

4.Vadam Vali( Tug of War)

Vadam Vali popularly known as tug of war is a major Onam entertainment where two teams pull at the two ends of a rope until one team pulls in the other team over the central line. two teams pull at opposite ends of a rope until one drags the other over a central line. It is a highly awaited and enjoyed sport event during the Onam celebration.

5.Vallam Kali

Vallam kali also known as the snake boat race is a major attraction and entertainment during the Onam festival. The snake boats compete against each other to win on the backwaters of Kerala. The water sport draws in large crowds of spectators from all over the world. The spirit of the crowd is helped by the famous “Valla pattu”- Boat Song. Aranmula Boat race is the major sport event during the Onam season.

6.Kummattikali( Mask Dance)

Kummatti Kali was also known as the mask dance where dancers where colourful mask made out of wood. The dancers wear dresses made out of grass and they perform in front of the people in great enthusiasm. The performers collect small gifts like rice, jaggery etc from every home they perform for. The child finds the dance form very entertaining. The dance form is rampant in Thrissur district and can be experienced in its pure form at Bhadrakali temple in Palakkad.

7.Onathallu( Martial Arts)

Onathallu or Avitathallu is a traditional martial arts performance enacted by the men of the Nair community reliving the traditional warfare and comebacks they were involved in centuries ago. Here men pair up and enact physical combat ensued with war cries and battle like atmosphere. The whole performance is enacted under the supervision of elders. It is a celebration held during the Avittam nakshatra of Onam.

8.Thumbi Thullal(Women’s Dance)

Thumbi Thullal is the traditional folk dance performed by women in Kerala during the Onam celebrations. Women adorn themselves in traditional Kerala saree, stunning jewellery and jasmine flowers during the performance. Women sit in a circle with the main lead singer sits in the middle. The lead singers start the song which is followed up by the other singers. A rhythmic joyful clap is also included in the performance. It is fun to watch women performing in their carefree mood.

9.Thiruvthira Kali

Women dressed in traditional Kerala saree perform the traditional dance form in a circle with a lamp in the centre. It is also known as Kaikottikali as a lot of hand-clapping is involved in the dance steps. Both young and old women dance Onam submerging themselves in the spirit of celebration.

10.Onam Sadhya

Onam Sadhya- the king of the feast. Onam sadhya is an indispensable feast, especially during Thiruvonam. Every Keralites home prepares Onam sadhya with seasonal vegetables and freshly harvested rice. The Onam sadhya is served on tender plantain leaves placed on the floor and families eat together. The nine-course meal includes desserts and starters. The Onam Sadya has another legendary significance too. It is believed that during the reign of Emperor Mahabali, his subjects lived in prosperity and abundance. Every household serves Onam sadhya to show their emperor that they are happy and prosperous by preparing this elaborate meal once a year during his homecoming during Onam.

Celebrate Onam in its full spirit with Funday Holidays. Book your Onam holiday events with the best tour operators in Kerala.


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