FACTS & FIGURES
Time of the year - August/September
Celebrated in - Kerala
Duration - ten days
The festival is supposed to begin from the lunar asterism Atham which falls ten days before the asterism Thiruvonam. The preparations for the celebration begin on the Atham day. The Thiruvonam is the most important day of the festival. In the front yard of the house Athapoovu (floral decoration) is made for ten days from Atham to a Thiruvonam. The idol of Thrikkakkara Appan made of clay is placed in the middle of the floral decoration, a clear example of the aesthetic sense of the Malayalam who do it with a sense of devotion.
On the Thiruvonam day every one bathes and offers worship in temples early in the morning. Then the gayest new garments are put on. Presents are distributed to the younger members of the family. Then follows the onam feast of delicious food served on plantain leaves. Members of families, staying far away from native places make it a point to visit their ancestral homes to celebrate the festival in the company of their kith and kin. Keralites celebrate onam by organising community feast, cultural programmes, etc.
After the feast there will be sports and games, both indoor and outdoor, in which both men and women of all ages participate. Mack fight, ball games, card and chess play are the favorites of the menfolk whereas women find pleasure in `Oonjalattom, thumbithullal, Thiruvathirakali, Kaikottikali, etc. Boat races (regatta) also form another item of onam festival which attract thousands of people including tourists from outside the state.