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Onam 2022: Date, Time, Rituals, History, Significance, And Celebrations

Onam, a predominantly Keralite festival, symbolically celebrates the homecoming of the mighty king Mahabali. This is also the time when crops yield a good harvest. Celebrated with all ceremonial pomp and fervour. This festival goes on for up to 10 days. Onam has observed Shukla Trayodashi of Shravana asterism in the Chingam Malayalam month (end of August and start of September). To know about this festival in detail, scroll down the article.

Onam 2022: Date And Time

This year, Onam (Tiruvonam) will be celebrated on Thursday 08 September 2022. The nakshatra begins at 04:00 pm on 07 September 2022 and ends at 01:46 pm on 08 September 2022.

Onam 2022: Day-Wise Significance

  • Day 1, Atham: The first day. Known as Atham, which marks the beginning of the fetival. It is the day of Asura King Mahabali's annual visit from Patala Lok to every Malayali home and meet people on Tiruvonam day. Further, houses are decorated with yellow flowers known as Pookalam.
  • Day 2, Chithira: The second day is known as Chithira. On this day, another layer of a carpet of flower called Pookalam is added. They welcome Bali by burning lamps and singing traditional Onam songs to him.
  • Day 3, Chodhi: The third day is called Chodhi Pookkalam when another layer is added to the carpet of flowers.People buy new clothes, jewellery and also gift each other on this day and it is known as Onakodi.
  • Day 4, Visakam: It is the fourth day of this festival on which the preparation related Onasadhya or Onam feast begins.
  • Day 5, Anizham: The fifth day is called Anizham which is exclusively earmarked for the famous boat race. This race begins from Aranmula, a small town in Pathanamthitta.
  • Day 6, Thriketa: The sixth day is known as Thriketa, on which day the holidays for the festival begins and people spend most of their time celebrating the festival.
  • Day 7, Moolam: On the seventh day, Moolam temples organize elaborate pujas. This day also marks the beginning of Ona Sadya and cultural performances.
  • Day 8, Pooradam: The eighth day is called Pooradam. On this day, the idols of King Mahabali and Vamana are installed at home and the King visits the home of Malayali people on this day.
  • Day 9, Uthradom: The ninth day is called Uthradom. On this day, Mahabali arrives at Kerala. Traditional meals are prepared at home and fresh vegetables are bought as well.
  • Day 10, Thiruvonam: It is the tenth day, which is knownas Thiruvonam. This is when King Mahabali is greeted with a warm welcome by the people of Kerala. People take bath early in the morning and in homes, Thiruona Sadya (Special meal for Onam) is prepared.

Onam 2022: History

According to mythology, it is said that Asura King Mahabali's efficient reign ensured prosperity and happiness for his people. He even toppled the devas from their lokas and ruled them as well. To end this, Lord Vishnu in the guise of a dwarf brahmin by name Vamana, came to a place where a yagnya was being held by Bali, and asks him to give him a piece of land. When Bali accepted it, Vamana grew in size instantly, and covered all the three worlds with just three huge steps and sent Bali to the paatal lok. However, Bali was granted permission to visit his people once annually. Therefore, Onam celebrates homecoming of this Asura King.

Onam 2022: Celebrations

When it comes to celebrations related to Onam, it is extremely vibrant and joyful. Several designs with flowers are created by women on the floor at the entrance of their houses which is known as Pookkalam. With the passing of each day, during Onam, a new layer of flowers is added to the Pookkalam. Pookkalam competitions are also held. Family members got up early on Attam to put on their new "Onakkodi" attire. They mount Vishnu idols known as Thrikkakara appan. The ten small round steps of Pookalam represents ten deities.

1. Onasadya: On the third day, is the Thiruonam Onasadya, which is a nine-course meal prepared and served on a Banana leaf. It consists of at least four to five vegetables and the sweet dish of Payasam.

2. Onakalikal: Keralites play varieties of games. Talappanthukali is a game played with a ball by men. Men also engage in archery or Ambeyyal. Women busy themselves with Pookkalam and traditional dances.

3. Vallamkali Boat Race: This is the hugely popular snake boat race or Vallamkali wherein 100 rowers compete in their decorated boats. Seven drums are arranged to provide a background effect.

4. Karanavar ( Onakazhcha): On the ninth day of Onam, the Kerala Nairs present vegetables and coconut oil as gifts to the family's eldest member, known as 'Karanavar' (Onakazhcha).

5. Atthachamayam: On the tenth day, various cultural activities and festivals are organised. The celebrations start from Atthachamayam wherein you can watch the elephants march, to the drumbeats. People wear bright flashy attires with masks. The parades display traditional scenes from Indian epics.

6. Kaikottikali (Folk dances): Kaikottikali is a clap dance performed by women, that is dedicated to Mahabali. They also dance in a circle which is known as Thumbi Thullai.

Disclaimer: The information is based on assumptions and information available on the internet and the accuracy or reliability is not guaranteed. Boldsky does not confirm any inputs or information related to the article and our only purpose is to deliver information. Kindly consult the concerned expert before practising or implementing any information and assumption

Image sources: Wikimedia Commons

Story first published: Monday, June 27, 2022, 14:00 [IST]
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