Onathaar is a Theyyam that arrives at the households of Kannur and Kasaragod districts of Kerala with the declaration of Onam. The role is enacted by boys of Vanna tribe. In certain localities, Onathar comes to homes from the day of Atham to Thiruvonam.
In Kanhangad and Neelswaram, Onathaar symbolises lord Vishnu. It is also seen as the kid avatar of lord Krishna. However in certain other regions, Onathaar symbolises Mahabali. In these regions, Onathaar arrives on the days of Uthradam and Thiruvonam. ‘Onavillu’ and ‘Ottachenda’ are played for percussion and Onathaar moves to the rhythm of these. Onathaar dresses up in elaborate costumes and will have detailed tattoo works on his face. He will also have a crown on his head. Onathaar dances around Pookkalams, accompanied by music. The story told through these songs is the one that details the arrival of Mahabali. These songs are referred to as ‘Mavelipattu’ and ‘Onapattu’.