Onam, also spelled Thiru Onam or Thiruvonam festival, is a fascinating and spectacular festivity, is the biggest festivals in Kerala. Onam is a ten-day annual festival which falls during the Malayalam month of Chingam (August - September), starting from the day of lunar asterism Atham and concludes on asterism Thiruonam. Also known as the harvest festival, Onam Festival marks the arrival of the legendary King Mahabali. The carnival of Onam invokes the Kerala culture and tradition with its traditional feasts (Onasadya), folk songs and dances, exquisitely decorated Onam Pookalam (Athapookalam), stunning Vallamkali (Snake Boat Race) and traditional Kerala games. The Keralites make fabulous arrangements to invite King Mahabali and celebrate in a grand manner. This year, the date of Onam Festival 2013 is on 16th September 2013.
Onam festival starts with Tripunithura Athachamayam on 7th September 2013 and the main event is the Thiruonam day which falls on 16th September this year. The celebration is most prominent in Trikkakara which is about 10 km from Kochi (Cochin) on the Edapally - Pookattupadi road. This place is said to be the capital of the King Mahabali. Vamanamoorthy Temple dedicated to Trikkakara Appan or Vamanamurthy, who is Lord Vishnu himself in disguise, is located at this place.
Though all the ten days are important, the first day, Atham, and the last or tenth day, Thiru Onam, are notable ones. An interesting feature is the Pookalam or the flower carpet which starts from the first day. The front courtyard of almost every house in Kerala is decorated with Attha Poo to welcome the king. The Pookalam increases in size on the subsequent days with the addition of more flowers into it. Steamed bananas and fried pappadam (pappad) are included in the food till the day of Thiruonam. You can see the youngsters enjoying themselves swinging and singing in the beautifully decorated swings which form an important part during Onam.
Hindudevotionalblog.com has posted another article about Onam with more details regarding rituals on Onam Utradam and Thiruonam day, Customs of Onam festival, and the traditional Onam games and dance performance which adds the beauty of Onam celebration. More about Kerala Onam Celebrations here
Athapookalam Designs Photos
Pictures of Onam Pookalam Designs
Guruvayur Sree Krishna Temple, Thrissur
Vadakkunnathan Shiva Temple