Onam 2023: Anizham, 5th Day Of The Harvest Festival

Much awaited Onam is here and Malyalis all over India as well as abroad are celebrating this festival to the fullest. It is one of the major traditional harvest festivals celebrated in Kerala and holds both cultural and religious significance. The festival marks the beginning of harvest and the return of King Mahabali to his beloved Kerala. Onam is a time for people to come together and celebrate their culture, heritage, and traditions.

The festival is marked by a ten-day period of festivities, rituals, and cultural activities, and today, marks the fifth day of the festival called Anizham, considered significant in the traditional Kerala calendar. The fifth day of Onam is called Anizham and marks the start of the third week of celebrations known as Avittam. It is a day filled with cultural activities. Traditional dances like Thiruvathirakali and Kaikottikali, which involve women dancing in a circle to traditional songs, are commonly performed.  

Video credits: Rajshri Food/YouTube

Traditional games and sports are an integral part of Onam celebrations. The 5th day called Anizham is exclusively earmarked for the famous boat race called Vallamkali or snake boat race, held on the Pamba river with a grand parade. People create intricate and colorful floral designs called "Pookalams" at the entrances of their homes. These flower rangoli designs are made using various flowers and are a visual representation of the festive spirit. 

Several processions showcasing various traditional art forms, music, and cultural displays are organized on the fifth day of Onam. These processions are a way to celebrate Kerala's rich cultural heritage. Anizham is also the time when communities come together to celebrate, fostering a sense of unity and togetherness. People often participate in various group activities, performances, and events. On this day, people cook special delicacies like thoran I.e., vegetables cooked with coconut, payasams and the most significant sharkkara payasam for their families and friends and express their goodwill and love.  

If you want to celebrate Anizham with the traditional Sharkkara Payasam, here is the recipe.  


  • 250 gm raw rice (Preffered is Unakkallari/Pachari) 
  • Jaggery Sharkara lumps 
  • 2 tsp ghee 
  • 10 dried grapes 
  • 3 cardamoms 
  • 20 cashewnut pieces 
  • 1grated coconut (small) 


  • Start by making cardamom powder. Remove the cardamom skin to make a fine powder and keep it aside.  
  • Now, wash the Rice and cook it in medium flame. When the rice is cooked properly, add in the jaggery and stir well.  
  • Allow the mix to cook for 5 to 6 more minutes. Now, add grated coconut to the mixture. 
  • Also, add Cardamom powder, stir the mix and keep it aside 
  • Thereafter, heat ghee in a frying pan and heat or fry the dried Grapes and cashewnut pieces. Fry until their colour turns golden brown. 
  • Now, add the fried grapes and cashews into the already cooked rice with jaggery and stir well. Serve and enjoy!