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Onam Harvest Festival


Onam Thiruvonam 2017: Dates, Timing of Harvest Festival of Tamil Nadu

Like the major festivals of Indian, Onam (September 4, 2017) is the most illustrious ancient festival of Kerala. It venerates the appearance of Vamana avatar of Vishnu and the ensuing home visit of the legendary demonic Emperor Mahabali from Patala (the underworld). Lord Vamana had sent Mahabali to the underworld but allowed him to visit his kingdom once a year during Onam. On Thiruvonam day, the Emperor is believed to visit every home and meet his people. This ten day long festival grows with festive spirit among the locals and is celebrated with much splendour. It is celebrated in Chingam month of the Malayalam solar calendar. Chingam month is known as Simha month in other solar calendars and Avani month in Tamil Calendar. Nakshatra Thiruvonam prevailing in month of Chingam is considered for Onam celebration and. Thiruvonam Nakshatra is known as Shravana in other Hindu Calendars.

Particular Date & Day Time starts Time ends
Thiruvonam Nakshathram Sept. 3 (Monday) 01:07 PM  
Thiruvonam Nakshathram Sept. 4 (Tuesday)   02:48 PM

 

 

The celebrations and festivities begin on Atham day and continue for the next ten days till Thiruvonam day. The first day of Onam is regarded as Atham (August or early September). According the scriptures, the demoni King Mahabali was the greatest king under whose rule prosperity and grandeur according to his whims prevailed everywhere. To finish Mahabali’s rule on earth, Lord Vishnu emerged as a Vaman (short Brahmin) and tricked him into giving Him whatever land he owned. King Mahabali on his demonic deeds was sent to a lower world; but Vishnu also granted him a boon that he could visit his land once every year. Onam celebrates this home-coming of the King.


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Significance of Onam and ten days (2017):

Atham (August 25, 2017): On Atham it is believed that King Mahabali prepared to come back and visit his kingdom. This day begins with an early bath, prayers, and floral arrangements (Pookalam) on the ground in front of homes to welcome the King. Traditionally, the floral arrangements are done with ten rings, each representing a Hindu god. The colors are chosen to please each god, and only yellow flowers are used on Atham for the first layer of the Pookalam.

Chithira (August 26): On this day people add two more layers to the Pookalam, using mostly orange and creamy yellow coloured flowers. People visit Vishnu temples for prayers and worships.

Chodhi (August 27): On this day people go shopping for Onam special products, gifts and items. This day is considered auspicious for buying new clothes, jewellery, and gifts.

Vishakham (August 28): On this day, married women prepare sumptuous Onam meal. Traditionally the farming communities on this day used to organize their harvest trade. Pookalam design (floral decorations) competitions also commence in Kerala on his day.

Anizham (August 29): On this day, the illustrious snake boat races happen across the state. Three days prior to the boat race, a trial race is organized at Aranmula.

Thriketa (August 30): It is a day to kindle familial harmony as people visit their near and dear ones and fresh flowers continue to be added to the Pookalam.

Moolam (August 31): On this day, public places and steers are decorated with festive spirit.

Pooradam (September 1 and 2): This day witnesses the ceremonial installation of pyramidal clay statues called Onathappan in the center of floral arrangement. They represent king Mahabali and Lord Vamana By now, the Pookalams have greatly grown in size.

First Onam/Uthradom (September 3): On this day King Mahabali is said to visit the land of Kerala on this day. It's an ecstatic occasion when people complete their Onam shopping and spring clean their homes. It's an auspicious day for buying fresh fruit and vegetables.

Second Onam/Thiruvonam (September 4): It is the day when the main Onam celebrations happen. King Mahabali is said to be honoured by the locals. Pookalams are extravagant. The families engage in get-to-gathers and hold vegetarian feast known as the Onam Sadya or Onasadya.

Third Onam/Avvittom (September 5): On this day, King Mahabali is said to depart to the underworld. Onathappan statues are immersed in the sea or river, and pookalams are cleared and removed.

Fourth Onam/Chatayam (September 6): From this day onward, Onam celebrations continue for the next few days witnessing the snake boat races, Pulikkali tiger play, and Kerala Tourism's Onam Week program.

What Other Things You Can Do On This Day:

  • You may visit a Vishnu/Krishna temple and offer prayers. If a temple is not around, you can worship Him at your home in the early morning. The idols of Lord Vishnu should be worshipped with sandalwood, flowers, fruits and dhoop.
  • You can worship Lord Vishnu by using energized Vishnu Yantras.
  • One can simply meditate on Lord Vishnu and chant His mantra: ‘Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya’. This powerful mantra was given by Sage Narada to Dhruva Maharaja as described in the Bhagavat Purana (4.8.54).
  • You can also chant the Hare Krishna Maha-Mantra on the Tulasi bead.
  • You can offer flowers and chant Vishnu Sahasranamam (Thousands name of Lord Vishnu). Chanting thousand names of Vishnu or Vishnu Strotram has a purifying effect on the mind and the body. You can also play it in the morning while you engage in daily works. More details here.
  • You can also perform a Vishnu Sahasranama Puja under qualified Brahmins. It is a highly recommended activity on this day. The puja includes Vishnu- Lakshmi Abhishek and Pujan, Vishnu mantra Japa- 1100 times, Vishnu Sahasranama Strotra followed by Homa and Aarti.
  • You can wear a Ten Mukhi and a Nineteen Mukhi Rudraksha beads for they are ruled by Lord Krishna and Narayana, respectively. Wearing these Rudraksha beads on this day purifies your inner self and strengthens your will power. They work like a shield on one's body and the wearer gets immense protection from negative energies, evil eye and psychic attacks.
  • Donate clothes, food grains, umbrellas, hand-fans, pitchers filled with water and any other items to Brahmins.
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