calendar icon Sun, August 20- Thu, August 31, 2023

Celebrated all over the state of Kerala, Onam is the most popular festival of Malayalis. Spanning over ten days, Onam starts on Atham day and lasts till Thiru Onam or Thiruvonam, meaning sacred Onam day. This unique festival brings the colours and cultures of the state into the limelight, when people across Kerala prepare to have a grand time. On the first day, a street parade is organised that sees caparisoned elephants, carnival floats, brightly dressed dancers and musicians, and various other artistes.

Onam is popularly called the festival of flowers, when Pookalam (a drawing created with flowers on the floor) is made. This is usually done in front of doors and gates of temples. One of the most attractive features of Onam is Pulikali or the play of the tiger.

A traditional dance, about 200 years old, it sees hundreds of people dressed as tigers perform to pulsating beats. Boat races are a popular part of Onam festival. The snake boat race or Vallamkali is organised on River Pampa and is a must-attend affair. One of the best parts about Onam celebrations is the delectable dishes that are prepared during the festival. Known as Onam sadya, this celebratory meal can include up to 28 dishes and is served on a plantain leaf. Some of the popular dishes of sadya are avial (a preparation of vegetables, coconut paste and green chillies), thoran (minced string beans, cabbage, radish and grated coconut) and olan (pumpkin and red grams cooked with coconut milk). For dessert, payasam (a pudding made using milk or sweet brown molasses) is served. Finally, a preparation of rice and rasam (a tamarind juice-based liquid concoction) is served.