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Onam

Onam 2020 and 2021

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

YearDateDayHolidayStates
202030 AugSunFirst Onam KL
31 AugMonThiruvonam KL
202120 AugFriFirst Onam KL
21 AugSatThiruvonam 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.