Onam 2023: Chithira – 2nd Day Of The Harvest Festival
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Onam – the auspicious harvest festival of Kerala, also marks the visit of the mythical King Mahabali to his subjects on the last day of the ten-day long celebration. Chithira, the second day after Atham, is an important day for young women in Kerala, as an opportunity to display their talent and creativity by decorating the pookalam – traditional flower arrangement, that is kickstarted on the first day. Typically, petals of orange and yellow flowers are added as two new outer layers to the arrangement on this day.

Although there aren’t any specific rituals or traditions that are observed on the second day, prayers are offered to Lord Maveli to bless the household with prosperity and abundance. Hence, emphasis on decorating the pookalam is taken seriously to attract auspiciousness and good energy. In olden days, the front yard of homes were washed and coated with a layer of cow dung, after which a foundation is laid to begin assembling the floral designs.

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Chithira is also the day that is spent making plans and arrangements for the grand Thiruvonam day; and anything that must be shopped for the big feast, is also done on this day. Families and relatives are also known to visit temples and offer prayers during the evening. Homes are also cleaned, spruced up and decorated to symbolise a sense of community for the celebrations. What’s also interesting is that the second day is also the perfect excuse for children and younger members of the family to place requests for the gifts they would like to receive and are happily obliged by their elders.

The ten-day long Onam festival has unique traditions and rituals that make each day different from one another. This second day is followed by Chodhi, Visakam, Anizham, Thriketa, Moolam, Pooradam, Uthradam and the grand ending to it all, with Thirvuvonam. If you can’t catch an experience of the full Onam sadya in your town or city, enjoy it by making a delicious Olan curry with white pumpkin to enjoy with warm rice. Recipe below:


  • 1 cup ash gourd, chopped
  • ½ cup cooked cow peas
  • 1.5 cups coconut milk
  • 2 green chillies, slit
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • Salt, to taste


  • Heat the coconut oil in a pan and temper the mustard seeds, curry leaves and green chillies.
  • Add the chopped ash gourd into the pan and sauté for a couple of minutes.
  • Season with salt, add the coconut milk and cooked cow peas and mix well.
  • Allow the mixture to simmer for 7-8 minutes and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Serve warm.