When is Onam Festival 2024? Date, history, and everything you must know

Onam is a Hindu festival celebrated by the people of the South, mainly Kerala. Check the date of Onam 2024 and, all the other details you need to know.

onam festival 2021

The Hindu festival of Onam is observed by the people of Kerala. It is the state’s most popular event, held every year in August and September. The Onam Festival in 2024 will be held from Thursday, 5 September to Tuesday, 17 September.

The festival represents King Mahabali’s annual return home and celebrates Lord Vishnu’s Vaman avatar. This ten-day celebration in Kerala is lavishly celebrated.

About Onam Festival 2024

This Kerala holiday, Onam, celebrates the end of the monsoon season and the beginning of the harvest season. It is a Hindu festival celebrated yearly all over India with its origins in the Kerala state.

Onam, one of the state’s most important festivals, lasts for ten days during the Malayalam month of Chingam. Onam celebrations are a one-of-a-kind reflection of Kerala’s customs and culture.

Significance Of Onam Festival

Onam festival was held to mark the arrival of Asura King Mahabali’s annual visit from Patala. The story is set under the reign of Mahabali (Prahlad’s grandson), a demon king. The gods saw his growing popularity as a threat and sought Lord Vishnu’s aid. Lord Vishnu disguised himself as Vamana, a lowly Brahmin, and arrived at the kingdom of Mahabali.          

He requested Mahabali to grant him the land which he can cover within three feet. The generous king accepted the request and then Vamana started to expand in size covering the sky and earth in the first two steps. The demon king asked Vamana to keep his last step on his head, which would lead him to Patala.

Lord Vishnu, however, offered him the blessing of being allowed to visit his people once a year in reward for Mahabali’s good actions, leading to the Onam Festival in India.

List of 5 Main Events During Onam Festival

Out of a number of entertaining events held during the Onam Festival, the main 5 events are:

1. Tripunithura Athachamayam

This is the first day of Onam, which is celebrated with a lot of glitz and glamour. The day is started by a vibrant inauguration that includes a street parade. Onam processions are characterized by elephants decorated with jewelry.

2. Pookalam: The Floral Decorations

Pookalam is one of the ways to celebrate the Onam holiday, which is also known as the festival of flowers. In this, people make designs on the floor and decorate them with flowers.

3. Pulikali: The Grand Tiger Dance

During Onam, special dancers dressed in yellow and black, like tigers, perform the Pulikali dance. Onam Festival is the greatest time to visit the state as designated by Kerala Tourism.

4. Vallamkali: The Boat Race

The famous boat race that takes place in Kerala is another fascinating aspect of the Onam festival. Hundreds of oarsmen rowing huge snake-shaped boats compete against one other. For the winners, large sums of money are given out as prizes.

5. Onam Sadya: The Onam Feast

Any festival is incomplete without delicious cuisine, and the Onam festival food is one of a kind. Therefore the Onasadya, or “Onam Feast,” is the main focus of this 10-day celebration. This is a nine- ten-course meal served on a banana leaf that consists of 11-13 classic dishes.

It includes rice, pickles, papads, and various other foods. During the Onam festival, a traditional sweet dish known as “payasam” is made with rice, milk, sugar, and coconut. 

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Other Customs On Onam Celebrations

Onam is marked by a variety of cultural activities, including the traditional Kathakali dance, music, art, and cuisine. Onam is particularly significant since it brings together individuals of the state and spreads the message of peace and harmony across society.

  • Another major tradition of the Onam festival is the purchase and wearing of new clothing, known as the Onakkodi
  • Keralite Hindus in Kerala install and worship the Thrikkakara Appan or Onathappan in their homes during the Onam festival
  • Lamps are beautifully decorated in the Hindu temples in Kerala, and a Palmyra tree is planted in front of the temple, surrounded by a wooden fence and dried Palmyra leaves. It is later lit to symbolize King Mahabali’s devotion to Patala
  • In the rural areas, the swing is an integral part of the celebration where locals sing Onappaatt or other Onam songs and move the swing
  • In some parts of Kerala, people indulge in various games and dances during and post-Thiruvonam. These are known as Onakkalikal. These include competitions such as Ox races (Maramadimatsaram), Uriyady, Pookalam competitions, etc.
  • The handloom fairs are also the spirit of the Onam festival

Dates For Onam Festival 2024

FAQ On Onam Festival

Onam will be celebrated from 14 September 2024 to 17 September 2024.

It is a 10-day festival, conducted to celebrate the rule of King Mahabali. According to mythology, the gods sent Vishnu in the form of Vamana to defeat Mahabali. After defeating the ruler, Vishnu granted his wish to visit his kingdom every year for 10 days. These 10 days are celebrated as the Onam festival every year in the state of Kerala.

Onam is the biggest festival of Kerala which is celebrated to welcome King Mahabali whose soul is believed to visit Kerala during the 10-day festival.

Kathakali, the traditional dance form of Kerala is performed on Onam.

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