A massive cultural and religious event celebrated all across Kerala and the Indian state’s huge diaspora, Onam is that time of the year when people come together to celebrate the spirit of God’s Own Country. Onam 2017 began with the Athachamayam event on August 25, 2017, and will last until September 6, aligning with Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations that are happening in other parts of the country. What started centuries ago as a harvest festival has since evolved into a religious and cultural affair with a number of celebrations happening across the country, and even outside of it. But the best celebrations, as always, happen at home. Kerala will see plenty of events, contests, competitions and cultural programs during the two weeks of Onam, making it a very enticing getaway spot right now. If you plan on visiting the state anytime soon, here are the Onam celebrations in Kerala to look out for. ALSO READ: Do you know the significance of the ten days of Onam celebrations? Also Read - Good News! India's Oldest Covid-19 Survivor, Wife Discharged in Kerala
Cultural events at the Layam Ground, Thrippunithura
Thrippunithura in Ernakulam is a hotspot of Onam celebrations, and the best place to catch the festivities is at the Layam Ground. The venue will host a number of cultural events through the ten days of Onam, starting with the famous Thrippunithura Athachamayam program that took place on August 25. The Athachamayam festival marks the start of Onam and features a street parade where you can see Kerala art forms and floats. The festival began with yearly procession of the ruler of Kochi from Thrippunithura to the Thrikkakara or Vamanamoorthy Temple, which is where Onam is said to have originated. Also Read - Speaking in Fluent Bengali, Shashi Tharoor Requests Migrant Workers to Remain In Kerala | Watch
Pakalpooram at Thrikkakara Temple
Onam at Thrikkakara Temple, Photograph courtesy: Hari Vishnu/Wikimedia Commons
The Thrikkakara Temple, as mentioned a little while ago, is considered the place of origin of Onam, which is why it comes as no surprise to see Onam festivities centered around it. The temple sees plenty of events starting from Atham, when a special flag is hoisted for the duration of the festival. Over the course of ten days leading to Thiru Onam, special cultural, dance and music performance can be seen. The day before Thiru Onam, the Pakalpooram procession takes place when the presiding deity is carried on an elephant around the temple grounds. Also Read - No Door Delivery of Liquor in Kerala: High Court Stays Govt Decision
Onam celebrations in Trivandrum
Palace of Trivandrum
The capital city of Trivandrum or Thiruvananthapuram is where Kerala Tourism arranges its own celebrations for Onam. For one week, you can catch several events, stage shows, food stalls, handicraft fairs and art shows at several places across the city to celebrate the festival. On the final day of Onam, the city hosts a massive parade where you can see elephants marching through the streets and parade floats showcasing Kerala’s cultural highlights. Running from September 3 to 9 this year, do not miss a trip to the capital city during this time.
Onam Sadhya across Kerala
A typical Sadhya
Onam celebrations are incomplete without the Sadhya, a feast with as much as 20 different curries and food items, served on a banana leaf with rice. The best thing is that the feast is offered almost everywhere in Kerala, from small restaurants to large establishments. The arrangements range from modest to lavish, but the food that is served will be delicious no matter what. So if you are anywhere in Kerala, head to your nearest hotel and have a feast on the day of Thiru Onam, on September 4.
Aranmula Snake Boat Race
Aranmula boat race on Onam
If you are in Kerala for Onam, you cannot miss out on the Aranmula Snake Boat Race that brings in thousands of spectators and nearly 50 competing boats. Snake boats are a cultural identity of Kerala; their long, slender form and team of rowers and drummers that move perfectly in sync to the tune of energetic songs. And the Aranmula Snake Boat Race is one of the biggest competitions of them all. The prestigious race happens at the Pamba River, starting from the banks near the famous Aranmula Parthasarthy Temple in the afternoon of September 8. CHECK OUT: Onam 2017 Boat Race in Kerala: Date and Venue of Best Snake Boat Races in Gods Own Country
Puli Kali dances in Thrissur
Onam Puli Kali
We’ve covered feasts and processions so far, but Onam also has the famous Puli Kali dance. The dance display has hundreds of men with tiger-like body paint and masks, dancing in a form that is supposed to mimic the movement of tigers. Meanwhile, men in the guise of hunters also dance and move like they are on the prowl. Revolving around the theme of a tiger hunt, the Puli Kali draws a huge audience everywhere, and you can catch one on September 8 at the Swaraj Round in Thrissur.