Onam is an annual 10-day festival observed primarily in the state of Kerala. It is one of the most celebrated festivals in Kerala, and its origin can be traced back to the 9th century.
Onam symbolizes the feeling of oneness, joy, prosperity, and happiness. The festivity commences on the day recognized as Atham and concludes on the 10th day, called Thiruvonam. Noteworthily, Thiruvonam is one of the most auspicious days in the Onam Festival.
The Onam festival commemorates the beginning of the Malayalam year, Kolla Varsham. It holds its roots in mythology as well as ancient farming practices. The festival is celebrated to mark the return of the most righteous and benevolent king of Kerala – King Mahabali.
Significance of Onam celebrations
As per ancient texts, King Mahabali defeated Gods and took over all three worlds. It was then when Lord Vishnu stepped in to contain him. Lord Vishnu, in the guise of a Vamana (a dwarf brahmin and the fifth avatar of Lord Vishnu), approached King Mahabali.
As part of a ritual back then, King Mahabali promised Vamana to offer whatever he wanted, to which Vamana responded with, "three steps of land." Thereafter, Vamana grew himself so huge that he measured all the worlds in just two steps. Seeing this, the generous King Mahabali offered his head to the Vamana for the third step.
Pleased by this gesture, Vamana aka. Lord Vishnu granted a boon to King Mahabali by which he could visit his kingdom once every year. The other notable reason for the Onam festival, whose origins can be traced back to ancient farming practices, is that this is the time when farmers harvest crops.
Traditions and Rituals
There are many different traditional rituals performed during the 10-day long festival.
- One of them is Pookalam, in which girls prepare colorful and detailed floral rangolis to welcome King Mahabali.
- Onam Sadhya is another famous tradition in which a grand feast consisting of 24–28 dishes is served on a banana leaf.
- Vallam Kali (boat race) is yet another extraordinary event that takes place on the banks of the Pamba river in Pathanamthitta.
Other rituals include several types of dance forms like Pulikali, Kummattikali, and ThiruvathiraKali.
- Pulikali artists, painted like tigers, dance on the beats of traditional instruments.
- Kummattikali consists of artists wearing colourful masks and moving between houses and entertaining people.
- Another famous dance, ThiruvathiraKali, involves a group of eight or ten women dancing in a circle.
- Another distinct ritual of Onam is Onapottan. An artist dresses up and shows up at everyone’s home, rings the hand-bell to let the people there know he's there, and showers blessings on the family.
Fusion of Onam and Fashion
Any Malayali will concur that, across various arts and fashion platforms, the Onam festival has been used as a subject to portray various customs and traditions associated with it.
Vibing in the same energy, Gubbacci is taking the expression of Onam to the next level by introducing a new line of festive collections. In the spirit of Onam, we have introduced cool-looking T-Shirts with Onam Festival Design. These custom t-shirts aim to depict the real message behind this auspicious festival.
Designed by our in-house graphic designers, you can get your very own Custom Round Neck T-Shirts and match them with any of your sassy-looking jeans. From the famous dance form of Kathakali to the intricate and colorful Pookalam, from the Vallamkali boat race to the well renowned Pulikali, our custom designs on T-shirts with Onam festival motifs will make sure you stand out in the crowd.
Check out Gubbacci’s custom T-shirts collection with the trending Onam festival designs here.