Onam festival of kerala

Onam festival history
What is onam and Onasadya

The Onam festival of Kerala, celebrated in South India is a harvest festival. It is celebrated generally in the Malayalam month of Chingam, that falls in August or September. It is a main regional festival of Kerala.

Thiru onam is to be celebrated on September 14th, 2016.

Onam is celebrated to commemorate the return of King Mahabali, who was a beloved ruler of his people. This festival is a ten days celebration and many tourists, Indians from other states and foreigners visit Kerala during the festival.

pookalam onamOnam pookalam

Onam celebrations in Kerala

Onam festival has religious as well as social significance. Onam brings the families together. It is fun.

Onam festival includes the famous boat races, carnivals, dances, cultural programmes, the floral design called Pookalam and the traditional festive meal, which is known as Onasadya.

There are also the parades of decorated elephants, the traditional Kathakali dances and the fireworks.

What is the origin of Onam festival of Kerala? Onam festival history

Onam is celebrated to commemorate the homecoming of the Asura(demon) king Mahabali. King Mahabali was a popular and able king. He was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu.

He was a good and successful ruler. His subjects liked him and were happy. He was brave and benevolent. But he also wanted to conquer the whole earth.

His fame as an able king disturbed the gods. They feared that he may attack them and become the King of gods. They requested the Lord Vishnu to save them.

Lord Vishnu took his fifth avatar - incarnation - as Vamana, meaning dwarf, a poor brahmin and went to ask for land to the Mahabali. He asked for only three steps of land to which the King readily agreed.

With the first step, Vamana covered the whole earth, with second he covered the skies and then asked where he should put his third step.

King Mahabali realised that this was no ordinary poor brahmin and offered his head for placing hte third step. With this third and last step, Vamana the Lord Vishnu, pushed Mahabali to Patala, the netherworld.

The king requested Vamana to reveal is true form. Lord Vishnu appeared in is true form.

He granted the king permission to return to his kingdom once a year. He also blessed him that the king would always be loved by his subjects.

The people of Kerala celebrate the visit of King Mahabali every year as Onam. The celebration goes on for 10 days.

The 10 days onam celebration.

This festival is celebrated for ten days and the tenth day, the Thiru Onam is the most important.

All the 10 days are considered auspicious. On the first day, Pookalam, the flower rangoli(a floral design on the floor like a carpet) is started. It is to welcome the King Mahabali. The flower arrangement gets bigger everyday.

pookalam onampookalam onam

People buy new clothes, accessories etc. they decorate the house. Preparations for a big feast starts by making pickles and pappadoms. People want to show King Mahabali that they are happy and contented.

Kerala People, living in other places visit their homes to celebrate with their families. Conical shaped idols are made with clay.

The 10th day, King Mahabali comes to visit his people. A special meal is prepared in his honor and served to the family and friends. The meal is served on a long banana leaf. It consistes of rice, curries, pickles, chutney, payasam, puddings.

Go to Onam festival recipes - Onasadhya

Onam Games

A variety of games are played on this occasion.

The boat race of Onam is an event to watch. It is conducted on ricer Pampa. Long boats, grace Snake Boats are used. They resemble the raised hood of a cobra.


Many other games are played. The families play the games after a feast.

Onam Dance

Kummattikali - this is a colorful mask dance. the dancers go from house to house singing and dancing. The characters are deities and a witch.

Pulikali - A tiger dance - This is a dance of ‘tiger hunting. It is related to Kaduvakali, a 200 year old art.

Kathakali - Kathakali is a popular classical dance form of Kerala. 'Katha' means a story. The characters wear heavy makeup and costumes. Stories from Hindu epics are the themes for this dance.

Thumbi Thullal - is a all women dance and singing event on the occasion of Onam.

Kaikotti kali - or Thiruvathirakali is an extremely popular folk dance performed by the maidens of Kerala. It is a group dance. Women, both young and old dance.

Go to festival foods from Onam festival of kerala

Go to Vegetarian Recipes Site Home Page From Onam festival of kerala

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Recent Articles

  1. Aloo puri potato poori recipe, alu poori, alu puri, breakfast recipe

    Jul 12, 18 10:43 AM

    aloo puri potato poori recipe, masala poori, alu puri is a Indian breakfast recipe. You may also serve it as a snack or take it for picnic. Indian snack recipe.

    Read More

  2. Instant ragi dosa finger millet flour recipe, nachani dosa, quick dosa

    Jul 04, 18 12:18 AM

    Instant ragi dosa finger millet flour recipe. Also known as Nachani dosa. It is a very healthy breakfast recipe and does not take long to prepare.

    Read More

  3. Easy mavinkai gojju karnataka green mango curry, mavinkayi gojju

    Jul 01, 18 03:47 AM

    Easy mavinkai gojju is karnataka green mango curry. It is a quick summer special recipe. Mavinkayi gojju goes well with chapati, poori, dosa, paratha etc.

    Read More

Join Our Facebook Fanpage


Promote Your Page Too

Submit Your Recipes OR Read Visitor's recipes

  • Punjabi aloo paratha
  • Creamy chocolate milkshake
  • Rava chilla sandwich
  • Macaroni sandwich
  • Kara kuzambu - Spicy sambar - South Indian Recipe
  • Green peas vada
  • potato stew - istu
  • veg pulao
  • avial aviyal stew
  • Make chapati soft
  • Batata poha
  • vanilla custard tarts with mangoes
  • Instant Khaman dhokla
  • Cabbage akki rotti
  • Cooking with masala/spices
  • Balushahi
  • Spicy Macaroni Recipe
  • Easy raw food recipes
  • Baigan Bharva /Stuffed Brinjal
  • Curry leaves Chutney
  • Rice Flour Modak-Sweet Dumplings
  • Paneer capsicum onion stuffed paratha
  • Raw Mango - Green Chili Pickle
  • Stuffed Cucumber Snack
  • Dry coriander leaves chutney
  • Steamed Rice Flour Patties Recipe
  • Easy vegetarian recipes
  • Lehsuni karela masaledar-garlic bittergourd curry
  • Tirangi creamy dal Mixed lentil curry
  • Papad rice
  • English name for laxmanphal
  • Is nachni same as quinoa
  • Rice flour upma
  • Baked beans on toast
  • Green spicy appam
  • Simple tomato soup
  • Veg sweet corn soup
  • Chinese fried rice
  • Corn vada
  • Paneer dosa
  • Aadai - Lentil pancakes
  • Mor kali - rice flour upma
  • Tofu bhurji
  • vegetable paneer dosa
  • chana rajma salad
  • Fresh pudina dal chutney
  • cucumber raita
  • vegetable french fries
  • Fried dal pudina chutney
  • Beans toor dal subji
  • Trifle pudding
  • Kelichi shikran - Banana salad
  • Vegetable spring rolls
  • Sweet idly with molasses
  • khuskhus Kheer - ghasghase payasa
  • Vegetable omlette
  • Mixed vegetable upma
  • Chana Masala - Chole without oil
  • Rava Khaman Dhokla
  • Mixed vegetable Upma
  • Bread Moong Pizza
  • Kaddu Chana Side dish
  • Upma Kozhukatti
  • Cashew asparagus soup
  • mini samosa - snack
  • mixed veg whole grain flour paratha
  • spicy tomato chutney
  • South Indian Sambar recipe question
  • Oats Upma Recipe
  • Veg dalia upma recipe
  • Mamra vaghani snack
  • Bird's nest snack
  • Yummy layered cutlets
  • Easy Brown and white rice recipes
  • Khasta kachori chaat recipe
  • Mixed lentil sprouts salad
  • Sabudana Vada Recipe
  • Tomato vegetable soup
  • Corn toast pizza
  • Mixed vegetable raita - salad
  • Vegetable wheat dosa
  • Oats Khichadi recipe
  • Zunka Recipe
  • How to cook plain rice
  • Carrot potato soup
  • Aloo Paratha in oven
  • Mixed Grain Roti
  • Spinach Soup
  • Carrot Soup
  • Banana stem soup
  • Papaya Honey Smoothie
  • Jhal Muri - Bengali snack
  • Veg Sesame Seed Toast
  • Mosaru Kodubale Snack
  • Shirley Temple Drink
  • Besan Spicy Curry
  • Amla - Gooseberry Jam
  • Macaroni Tomato Sauce
  • Soya Vegetable Cutlet
  • Dry Gobi Curry - Cauliflower Recipe
  • Dalia - Cracked Wheat Upma
  • Vegetable Basmati Rice
  • Mung Beans and Basmati Rice
  • Asparagus Risotto Recipe
  • I missed Masala Chai
  • Drumstick Soup
  • Bottle gourd Soup
  • I missed Masala Chai
  • Veg Franky Recipe
  • Besan rava potato dosa pancake
  • Paneer Stuffed Papad
  • Sev Khamani - split chickpea steamed snack
  • Aloo Bread Toast - Potato Bread Toast
  • Moong dal dosa
  • Curry Leaves Dosa
  • Onion chudva - Aval Recipe
  • Banana Pancake Recipe - Banana Dosa
  • Grains - Flours

    Poha - aval recipes

    Chickpea - Chana

    Rava - Semolina

    Whole wheat flour

    Plain flour - Maida

    Rice Recipes

    Rice flour Recipes

    Lentil Recipes

    Millet Recipes


    Winter vegetables

    Green Beans

    Beetroot - Beets

    Cabbage - Gobi

    Carrot - Gajar

    Cauliflower - Gobi

    Fenugreek - Methi

    Eggplant - Brinjal

    Kohlrabi - Navalkol

    Onion - Pyaj

    Potato - Aloo

    Spinach - Palak



    Milk Recipes

    Curd-Yogurt Recipes

    Paneer - Panir



    Banana Recipes

    Coconut Recipes

    Mango Recipes

    Peanut Recipes

    Coffee Recipes