As Indians we have a very rich culture along with our vast festival celebrations which are all followed with much enthusiasm. One of the main festivals celebrated in the country is that of “Onam”.
Onam is celebrated by Keralites and is the festival of joy, dance, food and merriment. It is celebrated in honour of King Mahabali. It usually falls in the month of Aug – Sept. The carnival lasts for 10 day and brings out the best of Kerala Culture and Tradition. Intricately decorated Pookalam, ambrosial Onasadya, breathtaking Snake Boat Race and exotic Kaikottikali dance are some of the most remarkable features of Onam.
Onam, also known as Thiruonam originated as a joyous nostalgia of the golden rule of King Mahabali. Legend has it that King Mahabali was a worshipper of Lord Vishnu and was known to be sincere, honest and just. But his only weakness was that of his ego. Lord Vishnu came down to earth in the form of a dwarf Brahmin named Vamana to eradicate his pride. Onam recalls the sacrifice of the great king, his true devotion to God, his human pride and his ultimate redemption. It welcomes the spirit of the great king and assures him that his people are happy and content. That’s why Onam is celebrated by wearing new clothes and resolving to lead a new life of truth, piety, love and humanity.
A flower carpet called ‘Pookalam’ is laid in front of every house to welcome the advent of the vanquished king, and earthen mounds representing Mahabali and Vishnu are placed in the dung-plastered courtyards. Ritual are performed followed by a lavish feast called ‘Sadhya’. Home-cooked delicacies are served on banana leaves and the lingering aroma of sweet Payasam will leave your mouth watering.
The most interesting part of this festival is the heavily painted and dresses up Kathalkali and Bharatanatyam dance performers; flower decoration all over Kerala and the decorated elephants which are lined up to mark the beginning of 4 days Onam Festival!
If you happen to be in Kerala this Onam, experience it yourself! If not, book yourself a holiday to God’s own paradise at the earliest! Check out our tour packages for Kerala here