There is a rich collection of Malayalese folk and traditional songs, which are to be sung during the grand carnival of Onam. A collection of these songs is known as Onappaattu. These songs are being religiously carried forward from one generation to another as the people take great delight in singing them.
Below is given a list of some Onam songs.
Apart from songs related to Mahabali, several other types of songs are also sung on Onam. Most cherished of them all are the Boat songs, collectively called, Vanchipattu. These songs hold all the more importance in Onam festivities as Snake Boat Race or Vallamkali is an integral part of the festival. There is a good arrangement of music in the large and decorated boats called chundan vallams. Seven drums are carried in the boat and also a good number of singers. Singers and musicians sit in the centre of the boat. They help to boost the confidence of the oarsmen and encourage them to row fast. Boatmen row the boat in the rhythm of Vanchipattu presenting a lyrical extravaganza for the thousands of onlookers. A very famous song sung by boatmen is 'Kuchelavritham Vanchipattu'. It is a devotional song written by Ramapurathu Warrier.
Swing or Oonjal is another important part of Onam festivities and there are a large number of folk songs dedicated to this particular tradition. Boys and girls dress themselves in their tradition attire for the occasion. They sing traditional songs (Onappaattu) while doing Oonjalattom (swinging). The swing is hung from high branches and decorated with flowers, presenting a memorable sight and experience.
Some devotional songs are also sung during the carnival of Onam. Lyrics of a famous devotional song goes like:
"Mulla mallike nalla malathi malla lochane undo kandu?"
The song beautifully describes the pain and agony of 'Gopis' who are searching for Lord Krishna. They are not able to find the Lord in their midst in Vrindavan. In their shock and bewilderment they are inquiring the whereabouts of their beloved from each flower and plant they pass by.