Onam 2019 Date: According to the Malayalam calendar, Onam, the annual harvest festival of the state of Kerala is usually celebrated for 10 days in the month of Chingam, which, as per the Gregorian calendar, overlaps with the months of August-September.
This year, Onam festivities began on September 1, and will continue till September 13.
Observed by Malayalis all over the world as a religious and cultural festival, Onam commemorates the annual homecoming of the legendary King Mahabali — the grandson of Prahlada — as per Hindu scriptures.
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There are four main days of Onam. While First Onam or Uthraadam, which is considered as Onam eve and is believed to be the return of King Mahabali to Kerala, will be celebrated on September 10, the most important day of Onam (known as Thiru Onam or Thiruvonam, meaning ‘Sacred Onam Day’) is the second day which will be celebrated on September 11. It is believed that King Mahabali pays a visit to people’s homes on Thiruvonam. On the Third Onam or Avittam, preparations are undertaken for King Mahabali’s departure. This year, it will be observed on September 12. The last day, Chathayam on September 13, would be observed as Sri Narayana Guru Jayanthi and post-Onam celebrations continue for the next couple of days with snake boat races, Pulikkali tiger play, and Kerala Tourism’s Onam Week program.
Across India, and especially in the state of Kerala, people bathe in gaiety and bring alive the spirit of the festival by organising boat races (vallam kali), tiger dances (pulikali), women’s dance (thumbi thullal), colourful masked dance (kummattikali), among other things. Onam is incomplete without intricate flower arrangements (called pookalam), song and dance routines, music, and worship.
The highlight of the festival, however, is the Onam sadhya or the elaborate feast, comprising — but not limited to —seasonal vegetables, banana chips, yam chips, mango and lime pickle, tamarind and ginger chutney, rice with coconut essence, pachadi (a blend of coconut, curd, pineapple and chillies), avial (a dish with potatoes, banana, carrots, beans, drumstick and raw mango), rasam (a tangy watery dish), moru (buttermilk) and pappadam served on a banana leaf.