Onam – the colourful festival of Kerala

Onam – the colourful festival of Kerala


The festival “Onam” is celebrated in the state of Kerala in India and by Keralites living all around the World. It is the most famous and biggest festival in Kerala. The most interesting fact about Onam is that it is a social festival. It is celebrated by the people of kerala irrespective of one’s religious background. It is a celebration of 10 days in the coastal state of Kerala.

The festival marks the end of rainy season and nature is dressed in its best with flowers of varied colours ,fruits and other agricultural crops. The main attraction of Onam is the display of huge flower-carpets which is an arrangement of flowers and it looks like a rangoli, in the courtyard of every house. These are known as “Pookalam” in Malayalam. Usually, youngsters gather together in collecting flowers and arrange flowers in a well designed layout. It is a celebration of nature’s bounty in the form of flowers of different hue. In other words, it can also be called as a ‘harvest festival’.

There is a legend associated with the festival of Onam. Kerala was once ruled by King Mahabali and during the reign of  King Mahabali, there was prosperity and abundance in the state. It is believed that the spirit of King Mahabali comes to “God’s own Country” every year to ensure that the people are living happily. As his spirit moves around, the glimpse of “flower-carpets” or “Pookalams” outside every house indicates that the people are all living in happiness and prosperity. People displays huge and colourful “Pookalams” to attract the attention of the King and to Welcome him to bless the house.

People celebrate the festival of Onam with great enthusiasm and happiness. People wear new clothes and children are given gifts. People prefer to dress up in traditional attire. As it is a harvest festival, the dishes prepared to celebrate “Onam” are grand and traditional. A special lunch is prepared and is served on banana leaves. It is known as “Onasadhya”. The “Onasadhya” is complete with nearly 15 very delicious vegetarian dishes. All the dishes are served on the banana leaves in a creative manner which gives it a colourful and appetizing look. The traditional manner of serving of serving one item after the other is strictly followed.

The grand festival of “Onam” is celebrated in grandeur and merriment in Kerala and by the people of Kerala living all over the World. “Onam” is unique in many ways. It is a celebration of nature’s bounty and thanks-giving to God. The festival also marks the love for one’s culture, traditions and values. Above all, “Onam” brings people together and spreads the message of unity and brotherhood. 



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