With Onam around the corner, Keralites all over the world are set to celebrate the auspicious 10-day-long harvest festival of the state on Wednesday, Sept. 14. It is being celebrated by people of all religions in the Malayalam month of Chingam every year.
Why is Onam celebrated?
The State festival of Kerala marks the home-coming of the mythical King Mahabali, who is believed to have ruled Kerala years ago. According to the popular myth, as many were jealous of his popularity, Lord Vishnu sent the Asura king to Paathalam (an imaginary place below the earth) by taking the avatar of Vamana. However, he was granted the permission to visit his subjects from netherworld once in every year.
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How is Onam celebrated?
Keralites celebrate the special festival of the state by wearing traditional attires. While women wear white saree with golden borders, men wear similar coloured shirt and mundu. Other highlights of Onam include boat race (Vallam Kali), tiger dance (Pulikali), flower carpet (Pookkalam), Lord of Onam (Onathappan), Tug of War (Vadamvali), Thumbi Thullal, Kummati kali, Onam fight (Onathallu), Onavillu, Kazhchakkula and Onapottan among many others.
The celebration of the 10-day festival begins with the royal parade, known as Atthachamayam, in Thripunithara, Kochi.
Ten days of Onam celebrations
Pookalam, which is a type of rangoli, designed with flowers is laid from Atham till Thiruvonam as part of the festival. Competitions for the best design will also be conducted in many places.
A sumptuous meal served on a banana leaf is the highlight of Thiruvonam, for which 30-65 vegetarian delicacies are prepared. According to the saying, a Keralite must have the Onam feast even if he is forced to sell his property.