The state festival of Kerala, Onam is a Hindu festival celebrated with great pomp and splendor in the month of August or September across all religions. The secular feature of this harvest festival makes it unique and special. It is a joyous occasion to mark the golden period under the reign of King Mahabali when prosperity and happiness was high among the people.
The festival of Onam lasts anywhere between four to ten days with the first and last day being the most important. It celebrates the rich culture and heritage of Kerala and is an extremely popular festival. The government of India also promotes the festival and is recognized as “Tourism Week” in the state. Countless tourists visit Kerala during this period to participate in the festivities and soak in the traditions of Onam.
During Onam houses are cleaned and decorated aesthetically with flowers in the courtyard and lit up with lamps. Women sing and dance to the local tunes and perform the Kaikottikali. People dress up in new clothes with majority of the women wearing the off white Kasavu saree with a contrasting gold border accentuated by temple jewelry while the men wear an off white dhoti and shirt.
The family gets together to have a special and elaborate lunch with nearly nine courses called the Onasadya. An exciting feature of Onam is Vallamkali which has hundred of men competing in a boat race in beautifully decorated boats and cheered on by the crowed with singing, drumbeats and celebrations. There are Parades of elephants, fireworks and Kathakali dance and a lot of games and cultural times making it the perfect time to visit Kerala.