Onam is the most revered and celebrated festival of Kerala. It is symbolic of King Mahabali’s annual home-coming as well as celebrates the Vaman avatar of Lord Vishnu. This ten day long festival brings in the best of festive spirit among the people of Kerala and is celebrated with much splendor.

Onam 2023 is on August 29, Tuesday

9 months to go for the event

First Onam is on August 28, Monday, Thiruvonam 2023 will be celebrated on August 29, Tuesday. Third and Fourth Onam falls on August 30, Wednesday and August 31, Thursday respectively.

Onam Festival Photos Image Source: IANS

Women decorating Onam Pookkalam with flowers, on the eve of Onam Festival

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When is Onam celebrated?

Onam is celebrated on the day of Thiruvonam nakshatram (Shravana asterism) in the Malayalam calendar month of Chingam

If one follow old traditions and honour the adage 'Atham 10 Onam', Onam starts from Atham (Hasta) nakshatram, the first day of onam and ends on Thiruvonam (Shravana) nakshatram - the most important day of Onam festivities, thus making it a 10 day celebration.

On the English calendar, Onam usually falls in late August or early September.

Onam Photos Image Source: IANS

Elephants during a Onam procession at Thrikkakara Temple in Kochi, Kerala

Spiritual significance of Onam

According to mythology, King Mahabali was the greatest king of Kerala and it was during his reign that the local people saw the best of times; prosperity and grandeur ruled everywhere. To end Mahabali’s rule on earth, Lord Vishnu emerged as a Vaman (short Brahmin) and tricked the King to give him whatever land he had. Thereby, King Mahabali was sent to a lower world; but Vishnu also granted him a boon that he could visit his land once every year. Onam celebrates this home-coming of the King.

Rituals of Onam

Onam is the rice harvest festival of Kerala. All the ten days of celebration of Onam has its own significance.

The characteristic floral designs known as ‘pookkalam’ are symbolic of this festival. Usually women members of the house make different types of patterns on the ground with flowers and lit lamps to invite King Mahabali to their house. People gift and wear new clothes known as 'Onakkodi'.

Grand feasts are prepared on this occasion. This is known as 'onam sadya’. Usually around 13 dishes are prepared for this. The food is served on banana leaves and commonly consists of rice along with different dishes, pickles and papads. A characteristic sweet dish called ‘payasam’ is a must during Onam. It is made of rice, milk, sugar and coconut.

Image Source: IANS

Snake boats during boat race in the backwaters of Aranmula in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala

Vallamkali or boat race, especially of Snake boats, is an event associated with Onam and is a grand event in Kerala these days. Huge snake shaped boats rowed by hundreds of oarsmen compete with each other. Huge amounts of cash rewards are distributed as prizes for the winners.

Elephants decorated with ornaments are characteristic of Onam processions.

Thrikkakara appan (Onathappan) or Vaman Vishnu idols are installed at homes for worship.

Different types of cultural activities mark the celebration of Onam which include the traditional Kathakali dance, music, art and cuisine.

Special dancers painted in yellow and black resembling tigers are seen commonly during Onam performing Pulikali dance. This time of the year is declared as the Tourism week in Kerala as this is the best time to visit the state.

Onam is of special importance as it unites people of all religions residing in the state. It spreads the message of unity and peace in society.

Image Source: IANS

Important Timings On Onam

SunriseAugust 29, 2023 6:19 AM
SunsetAugust 29, 2023 6:32 PM
Thiruvonam Nakshathram BeginsAugust 29, 2023 2:43 AM
Thiruvonam Nakshathram EndsAugust 29, 2023 11:50 PM
Place : Ujjain [ India ] See More

Related Events

First Onam2023 Aug 28 Monday
Third Onam2023 Aug 30 Wednesday
Fourth Onam2023 Aug 31 Thursday

Onam festival dates between 2019 & 2029

2019Wednesday, 11th of September
2020Monday, 31st of August
2021Saturday, 21st of August
2022Thursday, 8th of September
2023Tuesday, 29th of August
2024Sunday, 15th of September
2025Friday, 5th of September
2026Wednesday, 26th of August
2027Sunday, 12th of September
2028Friday, 1st of September
2029Wednesday, 22nd of August

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