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Onam 2019 and 2020

Onam, more fully “thiruvonam,” is a Hindu rice harvest festival primarily kept by Hindus of Malayalam descent.

Year Date Day Holiday States
2019 10 Sep Tue First Onam KL
11 Sep Wed Thiruvonam KL
2020 30 Aug Sun First Onam KL
31 Aug Mon Thiruvonam KL

The date of Onam Festival varies on the Gregorian Calendar, but it falls sometime in either August or September. On the Malayalam Calendar, it is considered New Year’s Day.

In Kerala state, many Christians celebrate Onam as well, and the festival takes places in churches and with a “Christian spin” put on it. Muslims living in Kerala are told by their leaders that Onam is sacrilegious, but many Muslims keep it in spite of the warnings. To many, it is seen as a cultural event rather than as specifically religious, though it is based on Hindu myths of gods and demons.

Events to look for, should you be in Kerala for Onam, include: “pookkalam” flower arrangements, boat races, tiger dances, cultural women’s dances, traditional music, donning of colourful masks and costumes, martial arts contests, and religious offerings and worship.