The most awaited yearly celebration of Onam or Thiru Onam features the homecoming of legendary King Mahabali, who is whispered to pay a visit at this festive occasion. During the month of Chingam when Lord Vishnu was in avatar of Vaamana, appeared in the province of King Mahabali and sent him to some other world. And since then the Onam is expressed to commemorate his marvelous kingdom of peace and prosperity.
It is celebrated over 10 days, starting from the first day, the day of Atham and culminates with the grand celebrations that are arranged on the tenth day ‘Thiruvonam’, highlighting wonderful activities of intricate rituals, songs, dance, grand feast, fairs and grand feast. It is also observed that at some places Onam is extended up to 12 days popular as ‘Chatayam’. However, the most acknowledged days out of all days of celebrations are Atham and Thiruvonam. It is so because the position of stars actually decide the days for their celebration.
Onam celebration is believed to be started with the emergence of Atham (Hastha), the lunar asterism (a cluster of stars smaller than a constellation) that appears for ten days before asterism Thiruvonam. The last day of Thiruvonam basically corresponds to the Shravan day in August or September and therefore recognized as Sravanotsavam. Last of all, according to some evidences linked to the Kulasekhara Perumals, it is also believed that Onam celebrations commenced during the Sangam period and is supposed to be celebrated for a month.
So, if you are a culturally inclined traveler then make sure that your next visit is to Kerala in India during Onam time amid Aug to Sept, and as a result can beautifully sense the same fun, joie de vivre, jollity and charm as the blessed Keralites do.
Onam, the harvest festival in God’s own country, Kerala symbolizes party time for Keralites. Unquestionably, a massive celebration that takes place in the first month of Malayalam calendar which is Chingam (August–September) and greatly produces enthusiasm, zeal and mirth in the life of localities irrespective of any caste, creed and community.