Onam

Onam

Onam (Malayalam: ഓണം) is a Traditional Malayali Festival celebrated by the people of Kerala, India. The festival commemorates the Vamana avatar of Vishnu and the subsequent homecoming of the legendary Emperor Mahabali. It is the state festival of Kerala and falls during the month of Chingam (August–September) and lasts for ten days. The festival is marked by various festivities, including intricate flower carpets, elaborate banquet lunches, snake boat races, Onappottan, Kaazhchakkula in Guruvayoor, Puli Kali, Kaikottikkali

Onam is an ancient festival which still survives in modern times. Kerala's rice harvest festival and the Festival of Rain Flowers, which fall on the Malayalam month of Chingam, celebrates the Asura King Mahabali's annual visit from Patala (the underworld). Onam is unique since Mahabali has been revered by the people of Kerala since prehistory. In 1960 Onam was declared as the ‘national festival’ of Kerala by Pattom A. Thanu Pillai's government.

According to the legend, Kerala witnessed its golden era during the reign of King Mahabali. The Brahma-Vaivarta Puranam explains that Lord Vishnu wanted to curb the pride of Indra; and therefore positioned Mahabali in great power.

The subjects under Mahabli's reign was happy and prosperous and the king was highly regarded, so much so that even the gods under Indra became jealous of Mahabali as was intened by Vishnu, and they approached Vishnu claiming that Mahabali is now equivalent to an Indra. Once Vishnu was assured that Indra's pride has been contained and that a world with two Indras represents imbalance, Vishnu assumed the form of a dwarf: Vamana. Vamana requested three steps of land for him to live in. Given a promise of three steps of land by King Mahabali against the warning given by his Guru Sukracharya, Vamana, enlarged himself to such dimensions as to stride over the three worlds. He had grown so huge that he could step from heaven to earth, and earth to the lower worlds in two simple steps. King Mahabali unable to fulfill the promise of three paces of land to the Supreme God, offers his head for the third step. Thus, Vamana places his foot on King Mahabali's head and sends him down to the netherworld. Being worshipped however, by Mahabali, and his ancestor Prahláda, he conceded to them the sovereignty of Pátála (netherworld).

However, as Mahabali was equivalent to Indra, he had to wait until the next Yuga where he would be the Indra. In the meantime, with the grace of Vishnu, Mahabali visited his people on an annual basis. Vishnu served Mahabali as a gatekeeper in Patala as the Lord himself serves his greatest devotees.It is this visit of Mahabali that is celebrated as Onam every year. People celebrate the festival in a grand way and impress upon their dear King that they are happy and wish him well. Mahabali's rule is considered the golden era of Kerala.

Meril Jeffery John.J

Meril Jeffery John.J

If This is God's Will then no man can Fight it

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