On the happy occasion of Onam, I wish you all joy and prosperity. Onam is Kerala’s biggest and ten days long harvest festival that is celebrated across communities, irrespective of caste, creed and religion. Kerala, which is also known as God’s own country, is perhaps unique in celebrating the return of the mythical demon king Mahabali.
As the legend goes, Mahabali was a powerful and revered king of the Asuras or demons. He was famous and popular because of his just and fair rule, all his subjects were happy and prosperous. Seeing this, Indra, the king of gods became insecure and requested Lord Vishnu’s help in overthrowing Mahabali. He was defeated (another story) and banished but because he was such a great king, he was allowed to return once a year. It is this return return to his land that is celebrated with such fanfare and enthusiasm. This festival is promoted by the Government of India internationally as the ‘Tourist Week’ for Kerala during Onam celebrations.
The traditional ritual of laying pookkalam (floral carpet) starts from the first day, when Mahabali begins his preparations to return to his land. The size of the pookkalam increased in size as the day of his approaches, with layers and rings being added each day to welcome their beloved king to their homes.
And of course, like all festivals this one too is accompanied by a feast – onam sadya. The traditional feast consisting of a gazillion dishes is served on plantain leaves.
Just a sample for you, prepared and specially served on request by none other than Mymind
Apart from feasts, folk songs, elegant dances, boat races, elephants, and flowers are a part of the vibrant and colorful festival. You can read more about it here
I am off to book my tickets to Kerala – what about you?