On the first day of Onam, it is believed that King Mahabali starts his preparations to descend from heaven to Kerala on this day. Elephant processions, folk art presentations, music and dancing make this day a spectacular event which attracts tourist.
The traditional pookalam (floral carpet) starts on this day and the size of pookalam on this day is called as Athapoo will be small which grow day after day. Only yellow flowers will be used and the design will be simple. Also the statues of Mahabali and Vamanan will be installed on the entrance of each house on this day.
On the second day, a second layer is added to pookalam with 2 different colours other than yellow.
On the third day, pookalam grow in its size by adding new layers or designs with at least 4 to 5 different flowers. Since Onam is associated with gifting new clothes and so from this day onwards people start to buy new clothes and jewellery.
On the fourth day of Onam is very auspicious day called Vishakam.
On the fifth day of Onam is called Anizham, which start with Aranmula boat race.
Onam, celebrated for ten days, is a state festival of Kerala and it is believed that King Mahabali, the popular and revered king who had to surrender his kingdom to Lord Vishnu, visits his people every year during this time of the year which also is the harvest festival of Kerala. Onam the state and harvest festival of kerala is a colorful one celebrated by Malayalees around the world.