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Onam Festival 2020

Onam Festival

Updated Date : Friday, 31 Jul, 2020 08:52 AM

Onam is a harvesting festival that is celebrated majorly in the state of Kerala. It is one of the most awaited and biggest festivals of Kerala that symbolizes the annual home coming of demon king Mahabali. The Onam festival is celebrated by all Malayalis or Keralites for ten days with great fervor and enthusiasm. During Onam, various festivities, boat races and cultural activities are held at various places in Kerala with great splendour and grandeur. 

When is Onam Celebrated?

Onam is celebrated in the beginning of Chingam, the first month of Kollavarsham, Malayalam Calendar. It is the time of the year when the good harvest is gathered by the natives of Kerala. On Gregorian Calendar or English Calendar, Onam falls in the month of August and September.

Share Happy Onam Wishes & Greetings image.

As per old traditions, the ten day celebration of Onam festival begins with the Atham Nakshatra (Hasta asterism) and concludes on the Thiruvonam Nakshatra (Shravan asterism) in the Malayalam month of Chingam. The main Onam celebration occurs on Thiruvonam or the second Onam. 

When is Onam 2020?

Onam 2020 is on August 31, Monday. 

2020 Onam Dates

Attam or First Onam Date

Aug 30, Sunday

Thiruvonam Date

August 31, Monday. 

Third Onam Date

September 1, Tuesday

Fourth Onam Date

September 2, Wednesday

Onam Timings or Onam Muhurat


August 31, 2020 6:19 AM


August 31, 2020 6:30 PM

Thiruvonam Nakshatra Begins

August 30, 2020 1:52 PM

Thiruvonam Nakshatra Ends

August 31, 2020 3:04 PM

Significance of Onam Festival

According to mythology, King Mahabali or Maveli was a great, generous and virtuous ruler of Kerala. In his reign, the kingdom grew prosperous and peaceful. All his subjects were happy and everyone used to love their King. Jealous of the prosperity of the kingdom of a demon king (enemy clan), the Devtas (gods of heaven) sent Lord Vishnu to end the rule of Mahabali on the earth. Lord Vishnu emerged as Vamana Avatar (a dwarf) and asked for three feet of land from Mahabali. At the time of measuring three feet, Lord Vishnu measured all the words in two steps and asked Mahabali for a place to put his third step. As a reply, Mahabali requested Vamana to place his foot on his head. This pleased Lord Vishnu and before sending him to the nether world, Lord Vishnu blessed Mahabali with a boon that he could visit his subjects and kingdom once in a year. Thus, every year people of his kingdom (Kerala) celebrate Onam festival as the day of homecoming of their loving king Mahabali. 

Moreover, Onam is celebrated as a harvest festival as this is the time of the year when the people of Kerala gather their rice harvest and give thanks to Lord for the food and prosperity. 

Onam Celebration and Rituals

Onam is celebrated for all the ten days with great grandeur and vigour. Here are the rituals that and festivities performed during these days. 

  • On Attam, family members wake up early in the morning and wear new clothes called “Onakkodi’. They install Thrikkakara appan or Vaman Vishnu idols and worship.
  • Malayali women draw different “Pookkalam”, floral designs on the east side ground of their homes. They light lamps and sing traditional Onam songs (Onappattukal) to welcome King Mahabali or Maveli. 
  • On Thiru Onam, a swinging ceremony is performed in which a swing is slung on the high branch of a tree. Women decorate this swing with flowers and ride it by turns singing melodious songs. 
  • On the third day of Onam, people invite their relatives and friends to a grand feast called “Onam Sadya”. They cook at least 13 dishes including Rice, vegetable curry, curd and Payasam (sweet stew) and serve it on banana leaves. Payasam is considered as the must having dish on Onam. It is prepared by milk, ric, sugar and coconut.
  • The famous “Vallamkali” or Snake Boat Race is observed at various places. In Alappuzha, Kerala hundreds of large and decorated boats with at least seven drums participate in the race. People from abroad and different parts of the country visit to witness this grand event of Onam. 
  • On the ninth day of Onam, dependents and tenants of the family give vegetables, coconut oil as gifts (Onakazhcha) to the eldest member of the family called “Karanavar”. This tradition is mainly followed in the Nair sects of Kerala.
  • During Onam festival and especially on the tenth day, various cultural activities and festivities are held in temples and religious places. Elephants are decorated with ornaments and grand processions are held.

Faq's related to Onam Festival

1. What do people wear on Onam?

On Onam, women wear Kasavu Sarees having white color with gold thread contrasted with colored sari blouses whereas girls wear colorful blouses paired with long and flared skirts. Malayali men wear white dhoti or Mundu with silk or other fabric crafted shirts.

2. What does Onam mean?

Derived from Sanskrit word Shravanam, Onam refers to one of the 27 Nakshatras or constellations. Thiru stands for things associated with Lord Vishnu and as per the legends, Thiruvonam is the Nakshatra of Lord Vishnu.

3. What is Onam?

Onam is the state festival of Kerala that is celebrated as the home coming of demon king Mahabali. This festival is celebrated by all the people of Kerala with great joy and happiness.

4. Is the Onam festival of Kerala or Hindu?

Onam is a Hindu festival but it is celebrated with a great zest by all the people of kerala irrespective of their religion, caste and creed.

5. What is the main day for Onam?

Thiruvonam is the main and most important day of Onam. It is the second day of Onam and literally means Sacred Onam day.

6. What is the name of the dance of Onam festival?

Thiruvathira or Kaikottikali is the dance performed at the Onam Festival. It is a graceful clap dance performed in a circle by a group of women around a lamp. This dance is mainly performed on Onam and Shivratri. The other traditional dances performed on Onam are Kaduvakali or Pulikali (Tiger Dance), Kumattikali, Kathakali and Thumbi Thullal.

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