Thiruvonam Aashamsakal! The enchanting state of Kerala reverberates with the chants of Onaashmsakal, “To everyone, Onam Wishes”. People exchange warm greetings of the occasion on the tenth and most important day of Onam. People of Kerala believe that on Thiruvonam the spirit of legendary King Mahabali visits everyone.
Activities begin early in the morning. People clean their homes, take early baths, and wear new clothes. They participate in special prayers organised in individual homes. Thereafter, they visit the local temples to offer prayers. Later, the most special and biggest event of all is observed. The Pookalam is prepared in order to welcome King Maveli. Clay mounds in the shape of pyramids that represent Lord Vishnu and King Mahabali are prepared. They are placed in front of the Pookalam.
At noon, the grand feast of Onam known as Onasadya is prepared. The meal is strictly vegetarian consisting of 11 – 13 mandatory dishes. This meal is served on a soft, green banana leaf. The eldest member of the family presents gifts and new clothes to the family members.
Various cultural events are organised all over Kerala to mark the special day. Dances, games, shows and get together are all the highlights of the day on Thiruvonam. Patassu [fire crackers] are also ignited to celebrate the occasion.
Some rituals are reserved for the eleventh day, Avittom and twelfth day, Chatayam or Chathayam. Most major celebrations are observed on Thiruvonam, the tenth and most important day of Onam festival.
Ten days of Onam: