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Onam Activities for Kids

Onam is an annual harvest festival celebrated in the state of Kerala. It is the official festival of Kerala. Onam commemorates the annual homecoming of mythological King Mahabali who was a great king. He was defeated by Vishnu as Vamana Avatar and banished to Pathala lok. It is believed that King Mahabali comes to visit Kerala and his subjects every year, and that is the celebration of Onam.

Onam starts off every year with a parade with elephants called Athachamayam. It is celebrated in the month of Chingam of Malayalam calendar, which falls in August – September. The celebration of Onam includes a number of cultural events like dances, boat race (vallamkali) , making flower rangoli (pookalam) and an elaborate feast with many dishes (sadya). Pulikali (tiger dance), Kathakali, Thiruvathira Kali are some dances performed.


Festivals Of India Onam by Priyanka Verma is an illustrated book for kids from the series of books "Festivals of India". Suitable even for small children, the book details the origin and the traditions related to Onam.

"Celebrate Onam With Me" is a short book with lovely illustrations telling the story of Onam and how it is celebrated in Kerala. It also has a glossary of Onam related terms.

️Onam Food Recipes

Sadya: A Cherished Meal from Kerala

No festival is India is complete without special food. Originating in the Indian state of Kerala, Sadya is a meal that holds special significance for the Malayali people. This delightful feast is composed of numerous traditional vegetarian dishes, usually laid out on a banana leaf as part of the midday meal in Kerala.

Meaning and Tradition

In the Malayalam language, the word 'Sadya' translates to 'banquet.' The meal is not just a culinary experience but also a cultural symbol. It is traditionally served to celebrate Onam and Vishu, two major festivals in Kerala. A standard Sadya can consist of anywhere between 24 to 28 dishes, all served as a single course. However, for larger occasions, such as the Aranmula Boatrace's Valla Sadya, the spread can be expanded to include over 64 items or even more.

How to Enjoy Sadya

Sadya is more than a meal; it's an experience. During a traditional Sadya celebration, diners are seated on mats, with legs crossed. Eating with the right hand, and without the use of cutlery, is part of the experience. The fingers are shaped into a cup-like form to act as a ladle, enhancing the connection between the food and those who partake in it. It's a practice that ties together the rich cultural heritage of Kerala with the simple joy of sharing a meal.

image credit- Augustus Binu

Know more about the Sadya recipes from these videos.

Here is a simple way to make Kerala Sadya Special Beetroot Pachadi

️Cultural Activities

Discuss about the cultural activities of Onam. The various dances performed during Ona, include Pulikkali, Kathakali, Thiruvathira Kali, etc. The boat races of Onam are unique and amazing. Here are some videos to show your child some glimpses of these Oman events.

Art & Craft Activities

Nettipattam (Elephant decoration) Craft

Kathakali Mask Art

Make a Flower Rangoli "Pookalam"

Simple Boat Craft

Puppet Play/ Performance Arts

Here is an example, we did an activity of Story telling of the legend of Onam using stick puppets. That was a superhit!!

Onam Themed Activity Sheets

You can solve puzzles, do visual discrimination activities, answer GK questions and do some coloring activities to combine some art, learning and Onam fun!

Don't forget to subscribe and download our FREE Onam Printables available during Onam time. These are worksheets with fun activities for kids to enjoy Onam and know more about this festival.

Trivia: Onam Dresses for Kids!

I would like to mention a trivia here that Onam is a great excuse to get your kids some "Kerala style" clothes. You can check them out here. The Kasavu method, originating from Kerala, involves weaving gold or silver threads into fabrics, creating unique patterns. This technique, initially used in the famed Kerala saree, has now diversified and spread across various fabrics throughout India. Now they are available for kids too. Here is my daughter showing off her Onam dress!

Click here to find Onam dresses on Amazon.


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