Onam is one of the biggest festivals that is celebrated in the State of Kerela. Onam is a major annual event for Malayali people. Festival is celebrated to commemorate King Mahabali, whose spirit is said to visit to Kerela. King Mahabali for whom the devotees of Kerela have lots of respect is also known on by the names Maveli and Onathappan. Let us understand the story behind the most important festival of Kerela.

Onam & Thiruvonam 2019 Date

  • Day 1 – Atham – 1st September, Sunday
  • Day 2 – Chithira – 2nd September, Monday
  • Day 3 – Chothi – 3rd September, Tuesday
  • Day 4 – Vishakham – 4th September, Wednesday
  • Day 5 – Anizham (Vallam Kali) – 5th September, Thursday
  • Day 6 – Thrikketa – 6th September, Friday
  • Day 7 – Moolam ( Ona Sadya, Puli Kali, Kaikotti Kali) – 7th September, Saturday
  • Day 8 – Pooradam (Onathappan) – 8th September, Sunday
  • Day 9 – Pooram – 9th September, Monday
  • Day 10 – Uthradom  (First Onam – Uthradappachil) – 10th September, Tuesday
  • Day 11 –  Thiruvonam (Second Onam, Thiru Onam) – 11th September, Wednesday
  • Day 12 – Avittam  (Third Onam, Thrissur Pilikali) – 12th September, Thursday

The story of Onam

Before we go through the story of Onam it is important to know the details about the King Mahabali. He was the son of Veerochana. He was the grandson of Bhakt Prahlad who was one of the biggest devotees of Lord Vishnu. There is a legend of how Bhakt Prahlad was protected by Lord Vishnu by taking the Narshimha avatar. King Mahabali was also one of the biggest Vishnu Bhakts

King Mahabali was judicious and righteous. He was one of the best rulers and was popular among his people. But he belonged to the Asuras and his growing popularity made the gods jealous and insecure. That is why Mata Aditi approached Lord Vishnu for help.

King Mahabali was charitable by nature and always gave whatever one asked for. Lord Vishnu took the Vamana avatara that is the disguise of a small and poor Brahmin and went to meet the King Mahabali. The king had finished his pooja and was about to give away alms to Brahmins.

The Vamana told KingMahabali that he wanted land. King Mahabali told Vamana that he could take any amount of land. On this the Vamana said that he only wanted land that could be covered with his three steps which naturally surprised the King.

The advisor of the King, Guru Shukaracharya warned the King that the Vamana did not seem to be a normal Brahmin. But the virtuous King Mahabali refused to take back his word. He granted the land to the Vamana.

As soon as the boon was granted Vamana grew in huge propitiations. With the first and second step, the Vamana covered the entire earth and the skies respectively. The Vamana asked where to keep the third step. The noble king in order to save the world asked the Vamana to place the third step on his head. The Vamana did just that and the king was pushed into patal. The King then asked the Vamana to reveal is identity. Lord Vishnu appeared and told King Mahabali for a wish that as the King Mahabali had passed his test. The King requested that he be allowed to visit his kingdom once in a year as he was attached to his kingdom and people. Lord Vishnu granted the boon and this day is celebrated as Onam in Kerela.

Onam Celebrations

People make lots of preparations to welcome the great King Onathappan who made a supreme sacrifice. On the second day of the festival that is Thiruvonam the king is said to visit thepeople. The people are happy on this day to show the king that his people areleading a happy life.

Major attractions of this festival include pookalam which is designs made with flowers at the entrance of the homes. The Onansadya is the lavish meal that is prepared on the day ofThiruonam. This is a nine-course meal that is served on banana leaf. There are5 vegetables and other delicacies like payasam. Then there are games that are played on the day of Onam and this is known as Onakalikal. Then there is the entertaining snake boat race also known as Vallamkali boat race. There are also folk dance and other festivities to celebrate the most important festival of Malyalis.

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