With her fine clothes, her intoxicating fragrances, her lilting music and her charming dances, Onam has held Kerala
under her spell for years. But like the immortal Cleopatra who was staled neither by age nor by custom, Onam grows from strength to strength in the land of the Kerams or the coconut trees.
This is primarily because it is the one festival that any and every Keralite can call his own, whether Hindu, Christian or Muslim. Though based on a story rooted in Hindu
mythology, Onam has maintained its secular nature through the ages. Moreover, Onam is the harvest festival of a predominantly agrarian people. These factors have made Onam the favourite festival of Kerala.
The 10-day festival commences with the asterism ‘Atham’ and concludes on the asterism ‘Thiruvonam’ in the Malayalam month of ‘Chingam.’ As per the Malayalam almanac, the month of ‘Chingam’ is the New Year for Keralites. This period corresponds to the months of August / September.