Onam Celebrations: Harvest Health and Happiness

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Celebrated in the month of Chingam – the beginning of Malayalam calendar, Onam is a harvest festival and one of the biggest celebrations of God’s own country – Kerala. Onam festivities last for a span of ten days and are marked with great enthusiasm and fervour across the state. This year, as we get ready to usher in the festival on September 13, 2016, let’s take a trip down the history to find what the festival symbolises, its legend, and how best to celebrate it.

Happy Onam

The Legend of Onam

Popular legend goes that famous demon king Mahabali visits the state of Kerala each year at the beginning of the Malayalam calendar and the festival of Onam is held to mark his visit. The era of Mahabali’s reign was a golden one for the state with prosperity and happiness all around. King Mahabali was genereous and giving but had one shortcoming and that was his egoistic nature. Threatened by his growing popularity, the devas/gods encashed this weakness in Mahabali’s character to put an end to his reign. Defeated, Mahabali asked the gods to grant him the ability to annually visit his people whom he loves so much as a last wish and the gods obliged.

Onam Celebrations

The 10 days of Onam are when the rich cultural heritage of Kerala is displayed at its best to visitors and natives. The highlights of celebrations include:

  • Onasadya: A grand vegetarian nine course meal prepared on the day of Thiruonam, and served on a banana leaf is one of the most sought-after highlights of Onam. Most households prepare anywhere from 11-13 Onasadya recipes for the lavish spread while restaurants serve as many as 30 dishes.
  • Onakkodi: As with most Hindu festivals, traditional dresses are an important part of Onam celebrations. Most Malayaless purchase new clothes for the festival with men dressing up in mundu(white dhoti with a golden border) and women adorned in a set saree or kasav saree (white cotton Kerala saree with golden border). Observing traditional customs is a way of people to remember the prosperous and truthful life during the golden reign of King Mahabali.
  • Vallamkali/ Snake Boat Race: Cheered by throngs of spectators who come from across the state, this boat race held on the river Pampa makes for one of the most entertaining attractions of Onam. Over 100 boatmen compete with each other in beautifully decorated boats amidst chanting of folk songs and loud cheering.
  • Pookkalam: This is the traditional practice of decorating houses with different types of flower designs in front of the main gate. A new layer of flowers is added to the Pookalam with each passing day of the 10-day long festival. Some communities also hold Pookkalam competitions.
  • Elephant Procession: Held in Thrissur, the elephant procession is one of the most eagerly awaited events of Onam. Adorned with beautiful flowers, ornaments, and other metals, majestic elephants take a round of the city, dancing and interacting with on-lookers through small animated gestures. It’s a treat to watch, especially for kids.
  • Kaikottikali: This is a popular folk dance in which women clap and sing songs to praise King Mahabali on the occasion of Onam.
  • Thumbi Thullal: Another popular folk dance celebrating Onam with women dressed in traditional finery dancing in circles to please the King.

Armed with everything you need to know about Onam, it’s time to start preparing for the mega festival. Decorate your house, dress up in traditional finery, and surprise your loved ones by making a lip smacking lavish feast.

Happy Onam to everyone!

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12 thoughts on “Carrot Halwa (Gajar Halwa)

  1. Madan Gopal Goyal said on October 9, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    Add half ltr.milk to make it more tasty and nourishing.

  2. MOHAMED MASOOD said on July 23, 2014 at 11:59 am


  3. sunu said on September 7, 2013 at 1:13 pm


  4. Lakshmi said on December 9, 2011 at 12:03 am

    Awesome recipe……

  5. anuradha said on September 5, 2011 at 9:43 am

    came out awesome… its a hit with my family & friends.

  6. surya narayana said on October 28, 2010 at 9:13 am


  7. VARSHA said on September 17, 2010 at 10:02 am

    Ummmmm……YUMMMMMM…I tried it and it was awesome…the only thing i added to the recipe is a some 10-15ml of extra milk added with one teaspoon full of custurd powder…!!! hehehe…but its damn yummy man…!!!

  8. Genius Girl said on August 1, 2010 at 5:55 am

    i love carrot halwa all the time. its very sweet and delicious and i love it very much. whenever i find time, i will make it and have it.

  9. radha adepu said on April 3, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    i came to know that the carrots need to be fried instead of boiling.but still i tried this recipe it is superb…

  10. sahana.H.V said on February 13, 2010 at 9:03 am

    still not done, after i will write,

  11. T.S.SUNDARAM said on January 4, 2010 at 4:19 am


  12. sweety said on April 7, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    it is very nice.i love it.

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