Onam 2020 – Thiruvonam 2020 Date, History, Importance, Interesting Facts, Quotes

Onam 2020 - Onam is an annual festival celebrated in God's own country, Kerala. It is also a harvest festival and falls on the 22nd nakshatra Thiruvonam in the Malayalam calendar in the month of Chingam which falls between August –September. Read more information about Onam history, importance, and interesting facts about Onam below.

Niranjani | Updated Jul 06, 2020 14:19 PM

Onam 2020 – Thiruvonam 2020 Date, History, Importance, Interesting Facts, Quotes

Onam 2020

Onam is celebrated on 22nd August. Onam is observed each year to commemorate King Mahabali, whose spirit is believed to have visited Kerala at Onam time. Almost when monsoon bids adios, in the land of south India specifically Kerala, look forward to the arrival of the harvest festival, Onam. Onam is originally a Hindu festival celebrated each year. Onam is celebrated for 10 days across Kerala. This festival celebrates the return from the underworld of King Mahabali, who was considered as a great ruler This reflects the traditions and culture of Kerala in every way. This festival paints bright colors across the state beyond you can imagine.

History of Onam 

Onam commemorates the arrival of the great asura, King Maha Bali, from Patala Loka. Maha Bali was a great asura king. He was opinionated because he owned all the expenses that he could see on land and was found to be invincible. The grandson of Prahalada, Maha Bali was a strong and erudite king who showed great respect for knowledge. One day, while Maha Bali was performing a yagna, when a young, short euphoric boy entered the yagna shala. Maha Bali, welcomed this joyful young boy and asked him what he wanted. The young boy asked for land space, which could be measured by his three footsteps. Maha Bali agreed to the boy at once to the chagrin of his Guru Shukracharya who advised him that the guest was none other than Lord Vishnu himself. No sooner the three footsteps were granted, the young Vishnu assumed a gigantic form known as Trivikarma and, measured the whole earth, with the first step of his foot. Then with the second step of his foot, he measured the whole sky. These two steps covered the entire Mahabali’s kingdom, the whole of earth, and the sky. Upon this, Vishnu asked Maha Bali where he should step this third foot on.  Maha Bali is known for his generosity joyfully offered his head for the third step in utter devotion, surrender, and faithfulness. Knowledge and humility help one overstep the ego which can evolve as huge as this earth and sky. Just like Vamana’s, the ego can be conquered in three simple steps.  

Step 1: Measure the earth - Look around and be humbled by the number of other living beings.
Step 2: Measure the skies – Look up into the sky and be humbled by the absolute vastness and the multitude of other worlds and how insignificantly tiny are we in this cosmos. 
Step 3: Place your hand on your head – Realize that in the cycle of births and deaths not only of living beings but the cosmos itself, the time span of each of our lives is very small and the role we play in the larger picture of the order of the cosmos, is even smaller.
The Lord, seeing his attitude of surrender, blessed him and sent him to Patala with a promise of making him Indra in the next Manvantara and that he himself would guard the gates of Patala. With the request of Maha Bali’s people, Vishnu granted Maha Bali the permission to come back to his kingdom from Patala, once in every year, to be amongst people. The day when he returns back is officially celebrated as Onam. 

Ten Days of Onam 

The festival of Onam is a ten-day festival and each day has a unique name, significance, and different activities attached to it. This is celebrated as the arrival of King Maha Bali. 

Day 1 (Atham): This is the first day of Onam when Mahabali supposedly begins his preparation towards the earth. It is marked by the beginning of designing Pookalam (only with Yellow flowers), it is believed that the size of which eventually grows with each day. 

Day 2 (Chithira): Adding another layer of flowers to Pookalam and cleaning of houses.

Day 3 (Chodi): Along with the addition of flowers.  People began shopping.

Day 4 (Vishakam): This day marks the beginning of several competitions across the state.

Day 5 (Anizham): This is the day when the Vallamkali Boat Race begins.

Day 6 (Thriketta): By this time, the Onam vacation begins.

Day 7 (Moolam): At several places, Ona Sadya and the dances related to the festival start are being performed. The state has been decorated beautifully by this time.

Day 8 (Pooradam): This is a day when the statues of Vamana and King Mahabali are cleansed and installed at the centre of  Pookalam which has grown in size. 

Day 9 (Uthradom): People buy fresh vegetables and cook traditional meals.

Day 10 (Thiruonam): People cleanse themselves, distribute gifts and special prayers are held in temples. The grand Thiruona Sadya (Onam Special Meal) is prepared in all the households with a number of varieties. Several competitions are held in the different parts of Kerala

How is Onam celebrated?

1.    Pookalam - Pookalam means making designs with different types of flowers in the front yard of the house. You use different colour flowers in order to create a pookalam. Pookalam is also conducted as a competition. This denotes the welcome of King Mahabali.
2.    Onasadya – It is a grand meal prepared Onam Sadya meal is served on a Banana leaf. It is a nine-course meal. The meal is pure vegetarian. The number of dishes varies, from house to house. Restaurants offer as many as 30 dishes for Onam Sadya.
3.    Onakalikal- This is the game played during the festival. Thalapanthukali is one of the popular games played by men. They also play other games and play along with your family. 
4.    Elephant Procession - The elephant procession is an activity that is looked forward to during Onam. This majestic animal is decorated with flowers, ornaments in gold, and other metals. The elephant is supposed to take a circle around the whole Thrissur for this procession. made to take a round of the whole Thrissur where this procession is held. 
5.    Thiruvathira- Thiruvathira is the dance performed by women around a lamp. The women are all dressing in the traditional Kerala sari.

Interesting Facts about Onam :

1. Even though Onam is a Hindu festival, people across Kerala irrespective of gender, celebrate Onam with the same eagerness and zest. 
2. Onam is one of those festivals that has a number of cultural varieties to celebrate the occasion.
3. The new clothes that are worn on Onam are known as Onakodi.
4. The dessert for Onam is always ‘payasam’.
5. Thiruvathira is also a folk dance of the state.

Disclaimer: The above information is for general informational purposes only. All information on the Site is provided in good faith, however we make no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability or completeness of any information on the Site.

Onam 2020 - FAQ

1. When is Onam celebrated?

Onam is celebrated once in every year that commemorates the arrival of King Maha Bali, which falls between August-September, 22nd nakshatra Thiruvonam in the Malayalam calendar in the month of Chingam.

2. Is Onam festival of Kerala or Hindu?

Even though Onam is a Hindu festival, people across Kerala irrespective of gender celebrates Onam with the same eagerness and zest. 

3. What is the importance of Onam as a festival?

Onam is a 10-day festival that is devoted to celebrate the arrival of King Mahabali, the powerful generous ruler.


4. What is the name of the dance performed during Onam?

Thiruvathira is the traditional dance form performed during the festival of Kerala.