Onam is the Hindu festival celebrated by the people of Kerala in India. It is the state festival of Kerala. It is considered as the harvest festival too.Onam is celebrated in honour of King MahaBali. Onam falls in the month of Chingam, which is the first month according to the Malayalam Calendar.The ten days of Onam are celebrated with great fanfare, by Malayalees. Of all these days, most important ones are the first day, Atham, and the tenth and final day, Thiru-Onam (Thiruvonam). The rich cultural heritage of Kerala comes out in its best form and spirit during the festival. This year 2014, Onam festival is celebrated on 7th September.

Pookalam is the main part of Onam. The floral carpet, known as ‘Onapookkalam’,[3][8] is made out of the gathered blossoms with several varieties of flowers of differing tints pinched up into little pieces to serve the decorator's purpose. 

The Onam sadya (feast) is another very indispensable part of Thiruvonam,[8] and almost every Keralite attempts to either make or attend one. The feast is served on plantain leaves and have more than 13 to 15 curries, along with traditional pickles, papadam and a dessert called 'payasam' (a sweet dish made of milk, sugar, jaggery and other traditional Indian savories). In hotels and temples, the number of curries and dishes may go up to 30.

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The tradition of buying and wearing new clothes for the occasion of Onam is called the Onakkodi.
During the Onam, Keralite Hindus install an image of Thrikkakara Appan or Onatthappan (Vishnu in the form of Vamana) in their home[3] just as Hindus install images or murtis of Lord Ganesh on the Ganesh Chaturthi festival.

Traditional dance forms including Thiruvathira, Kummattikali, Pulikali, Thumbi Thullal etc. are performed as part of celebrations all over Kerala at this time. Thiruvathirakali is a women's dance performed in a circle around a lamp.Kathakali dance is also commonly performed during this time, with dancers enacting famous mythological legends.The swing is another integral part of Onam, especially in the rural areas. Young men and women, decked in their best, sing Onappaatt, or Onam songs.

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Some Special Recipes for Onam:

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