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Many experts believe that the Onam festival in Kerala has its roots in Tamil Nadu. In the past, the Dravidian region encompassing both Kerala and Tamil Nadu shared many similarities. Onam initially began as a symbol of remembrance, commemorating the legendary King Mahabali. The festival is based on the victory of Vamana, the fifth avatar of Lord Vishnu, over King Mahabali. Originally, Onam was celebrated primarily as a temple festival, but over time, it has evolved into a festival celebrated in households as well. The Onam festival spans several days, starting from the Atham Nakshatra in the month of Leo and culminating on the auspicious day of Thiruvonam. The celebrations continue until the following day, known as Chatayam. Thrikkakara is considered the central seat of Onathappan, the deity associated with Onam. However, instead of worshiping King Mahabali, Vamana, the dwarf incarnation of Lord Vishnu, is worshiped in Thrikkakara during the festival.


During Onam, the people of Kerala engage in various traditional customs and festivities. One of the most prominent traditions is the creation of beautiful floral carpets known as “Pookalam” in front of homes. These intricate designs are made using vibrant flowers and are believed to welcome King Mahabali into every household. Another significant aspect of Onam is the grand feast known as the “Onam Sadya.” This elaborate vegetarian meal consists of numerous dishes served on a banana leaf and is enjoyed by families and friends together. The festival also features various cultural performances and competitions, such as the traditional dance form called “Thiruvathira Kali” and the thrilling boat races known as “Vallamkali.” These events showcase the rich cultural heritage of Kerala and add to the festive spirit of Onam.


Throughout the festival, people dress in traditional attire, with women wearing elegant sarees and men donning traditional mundu and shirt. The vibrant colors and intricate designs of these outfits reflect the joyous atmosphere of the festival. Onam holds great significance for the people of Kerala as it symbolizes the unity and prosperity of the state. It is a time when families come together, friends reunite, and communities celebrate their cultural heritage.