Onam 2022: Festivities Continue Even After Thiruvonam — All About Post-Onam Celebrations, Customs

Onam 2022: Festivities Continue Even After Thiruvonam — All About Post-Onam Celebrations, Customs

The Malayali community all over the world celebrates Onam, which is a 10-day religious and cultural festival. It was Thiruvonam, the last and main day of the festival, on September 8. The festival is celebrated with a wide variety of activities and great fanfare. People make pookalam or flower carpets in front of their houses, wear new clothes, visit temples and partake a traditional feast called ‘sadhya’.

This festival also sees grand processions, boat races, and traditional folk dances like Thiruvathira, Kathakali, and Pulikali the tiger dance on all days.

Not only Hindus, but the Christians in Kerala are known to commemorate this annual holiday with tremendous zeal. They perform ceremonies such as lighting the Nilavilakku, an arati, and the Pushparati, or flower-waving over the Bible. In addition to this, they share a meal, representing the communion of all faiths and beliefs.

The Onam festival that starts with Atham, however, does not end with Thiruvonam. The following two days — Avittom, also known as the third Onam, and : Chathayam, the fourth Onam — are also regarded as Onam days.

Avittom And Chathayam

While the main Onam festivities end with Thiruvonam, the third and fourth Onams are held on the following two days. Avittam marks the departure of King Mahabali. The Onathappan statue, which is placed in the centre of a pookalam during these 10 days before it is cleared out, is immersed on this day, making it the most significant rite of the day. This marks the departure of King Mahabali to Paatal.  

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Chathayam is celebrated on Day 13 as the festivities go on for yet another day. Activities like snake boat race and tiger dance are seen on this day.

Other Customs on Onam Celebrations:

People take early morning baths, deep clean their homes, decorate them with flowers and lights, create Pookalam (a floral pattern) outdoors, and feast on Onam Sadhya, a massive feast served on banana leaves, to celebrate these ten days. 

Another significant custom among the celebrations is the Onakkodi, in which individuals buy and don new clothing. The women of the home don the elegant Kasavu saree, a white saree with golden borders.

Hindu Keralites in Kerala install and worship the Thrikkakara Appan or Onathappan in their homes during the Onam festival.

The Hindu temples in Kerala are embellished with lamps, and in front of each one, a Palmyra tree is planted and surrounded by a wooden balustrade and dried Palmyra leaves. It is later lit to symbolise that King Mahabali travelled to Patala to make a sacrifice.

The swing is a crucial component of the celebration in rural areas when villagers chant Onappaatt or other Onam songs while pushing each other on the swing. 

The Onasadya deserves special mention as it is a lavish meal which includes over 26 recipes that were made with the assistance of the entire family and eaten with hands.