Onam 2016

Onam is the largest and the most significant festival of the state of Kerala. Onam is a harvest festival and this festival is celebrated with joy and passion all over the state by the people of all societies. According to the famous legend, this festival is celebrated to welcome the King Mahabali, whose soul is supposed to visit Kerala at the time of Onam. In 2016, Onam is on September 13.

Onam is celebrated in the starting of the month Chingam, which is the first month of Malayalam Calendar (Kollavarsham). This relates with the month of August-September according to the Gregorian calendar.

Festival of Onam continues from four to ten days. On the first day, Atham and tenth day, Thiruonam are supreme important of all. Fame and presentation of excellent culture of the state during the festival made Onam the National Festival of Kerala in 1961. Rich feasts, elegant dances, folk songs, energetic games, boats, elephants and flowers, all are a part of the lively festival called Onam.

Indian Government has taken owing notice of this lively and exciting festival. It promotes Onam globally in a big way and celebrates the “Tourist Week” for Kerala during the celebrations of Onam. Large number of national and foreign tourists come Kerala to be a part of this festival.

The Legend

Before a long time, an Asura king called the Mahabali ruled Kerala. He was an intelligent, benevolent and wise ruler and beloved of his subjects. Rapidly his reputation as an able king initiated to spread far and wide, but when he spread out his rule to the heavens and netherworld, the gods sensed challenged and started to fear his rising powers.

Supposing that he might turn out to be over-powerful, Aditi, mother of the Devas pleaded with the Lord Vishnu to limit the powers of Mahabali.

Vishnu renovated himself into a dwarf called Vamana and reached Mahabali whereas he was performing a yajna and requested for the alms. Pleased with the dwarf wisdom of brahmin, Mahabali granted him a wish.

Onam Celebrations

Rich cultural legacy of Kerala comes out in its supreme form during these ten days of long festival. It is certainly a pleasure to be a part of the grand festival. People of Kerala make elegant preparations to celebrate this event in the best possible manner.

The most exciting part of the Onam celebration is the grand meal well known as Onasadya, cooked on Thiruonam. Onasadya is a nine course meal that consists of 11 to 13 vital dishes. It is served on the leaves of banana and people sit on a carpet laid on the ground to have the meal.

Another charming feature of Onam is Vallamkali, actually the Snake Boat Race, which is held on the river Pampa. It is a really colorful scene to watch the decorated boat drift by hundreds of boatmen among chanting of songs and cheering by viewers.

Onam is For All

Though this festival has its basis in Hindu tradition, Onam is for all people of different traditions. Hindus, Christians and Muslims, the wealthy and the poor, all celebrate Onam with equal passion. The worldly character of Onam is strange to this land where unity had always existed with diversity, particularly during the festivals, when people from different areas come to celebrate life's infinite joys.

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