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Onam Kerala

Date: 13th September, 2016

Onam is an Indian festival, which is impregnated with joy, vibrancy, and myriad colors. The harvest festival is commemorated in the Malyalam month of Chingam (end of the month August and beginning of month September). Onam is rejoiced for a period of ten days, starting from the Atham, the first day of festivity and continuing till tenth day, which is known as ‘ThiruOnam’ and one of the biggest days for all Keralites.

Legends of Onam Festival

King Mahabali, the grandson of Prahalad was mighty and benevolent demon. He was the king of Kerala and people of his kingdom were living a happy, prosperous, and peaceful life. Lord Indra, the king of Gods grew jealous of the rising popularity of King Mahabali and he, along with all the Devas approached Lord Vishnu to end his rule. Lord Vishnu decided that he would test King Mahabali.

Lord Vishnu came into the disguise of a poor Brahmin, known as ‘Vamana’ and asked for land as per his needs. Mahabali made the promise, suddenly he saw that the first step of Vamana covered the entire sky, and in second step he covered the whole earth, and then the king realized that he is not an ordinary Brahmin. The king then said to Vamana to put his third step on his head and the Brahmin did the same. Lord Vishnu was impressed by the benevolent nature of King Mahabali and gave him a boon that he could visit his kingdom annually and thus, the festival of Onam is celebrated to welcome the homecoming of king to his earthly home.

The Legend of Boat Palliodam

Several years ago, a boat was laden with food items and all of a sudden the boat called Palliodam got stuck in the river bend. The main head of the boat Bhattathiripad thought that it was an unholy sign. He saw a hut nearby river banks and saw that the children were crying badly due to hunger. After watching this, he bought some food for the children and soon after this the boat moved easily. Since then, people follow the ritual of giving food to hungry and poor.

Beginning of the Onam Celebrations

Attam (first day of Onam) marks the starting of the ebullient festivity. On this day, people draw floral rangolis known as Pookkalam at the entry gates. Middle-aged women wear gold jewelry and traditional dresses; women also perform traditional form of dance, Kaikotti kali. Onam feast is one of the most important parts of the celebrations. Several mouth-watering dishes are prepared and served with love to relatives and friends.

To seek the blessings of God, people also go to temples with family and offer prayers to Almighty for a happy, healthy, and wealthy life. They offer sweets, money and other offerings to God and seek the blessings. A popular snake boat race known as Vallamkali fills entire environment with loads of elation and happiness. Marked with fervor and elation, the festival of Onam brings bundle of joy, mirth, and cheerfulness.