Celebrations of the first day are striking by obscure floral carpets called Pookalam. More different flowers are added to this Pookalam with each day that passes by. Girls enjoy themselves by designing a floral carpet in front of their backyards and boys help them in gathering the flowers. Special prayers are also said on Atham in a local temple and after this day exciting activities start till the end of the festival. The biggest and the most happening day in the carnival of Onam is Thiruvonam. Festivities begin this day from 4 am in the morning while showering early and getting into their new clothes and going to their temples for elaborated prayers. An enormous and most beautiful Pookalam is prepared on this day to welcome the spirit of King Maveli.
The highlight of Onam is the enormous lunch called Onasadya something that the people of Kerala are extremely passionate about. Even if they cannot easily manage to pay for, they will anyhow prepare the meal comprehensive of all the 10-12 prescribed dishes. This has lead to the saying in Malayalam, "Kanam Vittu Onam Unnanam" which means, "We should have the Thiruonam lunch even if we have to sell all our properties".
Activities and tradition of Onam includes Pulikali performers who paint themselves in the guise of a tiger and act out hunting scenes to entertain the audience. Kummattikali artists get into an attire of plaited grass and big wooden mask. They move around from home to home collecting little gifts and humoring children. At Thrissur, caparisoned elephants move out in a parade and present a majestic view. While at Cheruthuruthy, Kathakali magicians cast spells on the audience and show magic tricks. Women perform their charming traditional clap dance, Kaikotikalli on the day and fascinate the audience.
Numbers of sports and games events are also planned on this day like Archery, collectively called Onakalikal. Some of them are brutal sports like Talappanthukali, Kutukutu and combats like Kayyankali and Attakalam. Senior members of the house have their enjoyment and fun by playing indoor games like chess or cards. There is also a tradition of swinging on Onam where a decorative swing is held up high on a tree branch, men and women swing on it while singing cultural and traditional songs. The entire festival of Onam is a wonderful experience. It is a worth watching site for the tourists and the locals themselves.