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Onam 2023: History, significance, celebration, and important dates

Kerala has begun the celebration of their most auspicious festival. The Onam Festival 2023 commences from August 20 and will conclude on August 31, 2023


The Onam Festival 2023 commences from August 20 and will conclude on August 31, 2023

Sudeep Singh Rawat New Delhi

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Kerala is all set to celebrate its most significant festival, Onam. The 10-day-long festival will be celebrated from August 20 to August 31, 2023. The day marks the return of legendary King Mahabali to home, and the Onam festival also marks the harvest season of the standing crops.

The festival pays tribute to King Mahabali on his homecoming, and many stories and myths are prevalent about the King's return. Each day of the festival holds its importance, and the first day is known as Atham, followed by Chodhi, Vishakam, Anizham, Thriketa, Moolam, Pooradam, and Uthradam, concluding on the 10th day, known as Thiruvonam.

Onam Festival 2023: History

According to Hindu mythology, although King Mahabali was a demon king and still, he won the hearts of Kerala's people through his kindness and love.
Many historical scriptures narrate that Kerala flourished to prosperity and dominance during his reign. The people of some states even believe that Mahabali's rule overpowered Gods, creating uneasiness among them.

To overcome it, the gods plead to Lord Vishnu for help. Lord Vishnu, who was the favourite of Mahabali, took the form of Vamana, a dwarf, to subdue the king and was forced to leave his reign.

Also Read: Onam: The 'vasudhaiva kutumbakam' festival of India
Despite this, Lord Vishnu gave him a boon to return to his land and people every year, and on this occasion, the Kerala people celebrate the Onam festival.

Onam festival dates and celebration

Onam is a festival that lasts for 10 days, and the last day of the festival is called Thiruvonam. As per Drik Panchang, Thiruvonam falls between August 29 at 2.43 am and August 30 at 11. 50 pm this year.

Here is the list of days and celebrations:

Day 1 - Atham
On this day, people visit temples in the morning, and people believe that King Mahabali begins his preparation to leave Pathala for Kerala.

Day 2 - Chithira
On this day, people clean their houses and decorate their houses with Pookalam's design.

Day 3  - Chodhi
After adding a few more layers to Pookalam, people buy new clothes and Jewellery for themselves and for gifting purposes.

Day 4 - Vishakam
This is the most auspicious day when preparation for Sadhya begins, and each member of the family contributes to the dishes.

Day 5 - Anizham 
Preparation for the grand boat race begins on this day.

Day 6 - Thriketa
On day 6, people visit ancestral houses to exchange gifts with their loved ones, and the Pookalam grows with multi-layers of flowers added to it.

Day 7 - Moolam
People perform Puli Kali (a dance form with a leopard mask) and other traditional dance forms such as Kaikotti Kali.

Day  8 - Pooradam
The Pookalam grows more prominent with more layers on this day, and people placed the statues of Mahabali and Vamana in the centre of Pookalam.

Day 9 - Uthradam
People buy fresh fruits and vegetables with many other things to be used on Thriruvonam.

Day 10 - Thiruvonam
On the last and final day of the Onam festival, people apply the batter of rice and flour at the entrance of their home, which is a traditional welcome design in South Indian culture.

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First Published: Aug 21 2023 | 12:51 PM IST

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