Onam 2023: Chodhi, 3rd Day Of The Harvest Festival
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Onam, one of the major festivals celebrated in the state of Kerala is now being celebrated in full swing. Popularly known as a harvest festival, Onam is celebrated for 10 days by Malayalis in Kerala and beyond. Each of these 10 days of Onam have a special history, significance and rituals attached to them, making the 10-day harvest festival a truly immersive festive time in Kerala. It must also be noted that the festival is associated with the return of the mythical King Mahabali on the last day of Onam, making the preceding nine days vital for preparations to welcome the ancient ruler. 

While the first and second day of Onam, Atham and Chithira are all about starting off the festivities with a big bang, the third day is when Malayalis get into the full swing of things. Known as Chothi or Chodhi, the third day of Onam festivities are all about engaging in commercial activities and sharing gifts. Chodhi is the day when entire families head to the market places all over the state to buy everything from new clothes to jewellery. 

So, in a way Chodhi during Onam is almost akin to Dhanteras during Diwali, when people especially throng to the jewellers to buy jewellery. During Chodhi in Kerala, people not only shop for clothes which are known as Onnakodi and worn on the last day, jewellery and accessories for themselves, but also their extended family and loved ones. Over time, Chodhi gifting has evolved to include electronics, kitchen equipment and digital devices, which means that businessmen across Kerala do come up with special offers to mark the day and incentivize sales. 

Another prominent ritual for Chodhi is the addition of special flowers to the Pookalam. For those unaware, a Pookalam is a sort of Rangoli made with flowers in a circular pattern. On each day of Onam, new flowers or flower petals are added in one ring—and by the end of 10 days, the Pookalam at every home becomes a gigantic work of art to welcome King Mahabali with. The Thumba flower, a pristine white flower has a star position in the Pookalam, but so do other colourful flowers like Hibiscus. 

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From Chodhi onwards, the addition of Hibiscus flowers, known locally as Chembarathi, are allowed to be added to the Pookalam. Four-five other flowers are also used on this day to increase the scope of the Pookalam. It is also believed that each of the 10 rings of the Pookalam are dedicated to 10 deities from Hindu pantheon, and the third ring made on Chodhi is dedicated to Lord Shiva. However, bael flowers which are sacred to Lord Shiva are not allowed in the Pookalam, so Hibiscus is instead used to add colour and worship the deity. 

This apart, there are no specific set rituals for Chodhi that need to be followed on the third day of Onam. However, if you do want to taste something delicious on this day in tune with Onam Sadhya practices, then you could try making some Ada Pradhaman Payasam. This sweet dish is one of the most prominent Payasams included in the Onam Sadhya. Here is a simple recipe you could try out.  


1 cup rice ada or flakes 

1 cup jaggery powder 

½ cup water 

½ tsp cardamom powder 

3 tsp ghee 

2 cups coconut milk 

Cashew nuts, chopped 

Raisins, as required 

Fresh coconut slices, as required 


1. Boil water in a pan, switch off the flame and add the rice ada and soak for 30 minutes. Drain the ada, rinse in cold water, then set aside. 

2. Now mix the jaggery powder in the half cup of water and mix well. Strain the mixture if these are lumps or granules. 

3. Heat ghee in a pan and add the cashews, raisins and coconut. Fry until golden then remove and set aside. 

4. In the remaining ghee, add the rice ada and saute for a minute. Add in the jaggery mixture and cook until it thickens. 

5. Now add the coconut milk, cardamom powder and cook until done. Garnish with the fried dry fruits and serve the Ada Pradhaman warm.