Kerala; the blissful land celebrates Onam
Kerala, the place situated at the Southern tip of India boasts of the immense culture treasured through out the years; celebrates Onam during its harvesting season.
Onam is a festival which memorizes us the ultimate truth – ‘Good always triumphs the Evil’. The Keralites celebrate it for 10 days starting from Atham to Thiruvonam (according to Malayalam Calendar). With a lot of festivities, the whole of Kerala indulges into variety of celebrations and entertainment.
The Mythology behind the Celebration
“Once upon a time, Kerala was ruled by the Raja (King) named Mahabali. He was very honest and faithful to his people and therefore he won several hearts. He did welfare for his country that he became renowned even among Gods. (According to Hindu Mythology there are three Gods or Trilogy of Universe: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and several other Gods too).
This annoyed Lord of Heaven, Indra who was self-centered and boastful. He wanted to perish Mahabali Raja. Indra visited Lord Vishnu and asked him to get Raja dethroned otherwise Kerala would be renowned even better than Heaven. Lord Vishnu was amazed to hear about the Raja and his nation. He thought of visiting Mahabali Raja and Kerala.
Lord Vishnu disguised in the attire of a young Brahmin boy named as Vamanan to meet Mahabali Raja. Vamanan thought of putting Raja on a test to check his authenticity and love towards his people. He asked for three feet of land for him to own. Raja was surprised to hear because three feet of land was meager for a person to live in. Therefore, Raja asked Vamanan to measure three feet of land according to his wish.
Suddenly, Vamanan grew larger than the Universe and measured two feet of land and found no place for the third feet. Raja, who realized it was Lord Vishnu who is standing in front of him, bowed his head and asked him to take himself. Lord was delighted to hear it from him and he was happy that Raja’s people were happier than those in Heaven. Lord stamped the Raja to death but gave him a wish that every year during Chingam (New Year according to Malayalam Calendar), he can visit Kerala and greet his people.”
Kerala was thereafter known as God’s Own Country. People of Kerala celebrate Onam in this remembrance and they believe that Mahabali Raja would visit their houses to shower them with blessings. Prior to His visit people decorate 10 days with Attapookalam (floral decoration made on the floor) which ends on the 10th day that is Thiruvonam- the day Raja arrives. Friends and families meet each other. They share their happiness and wealth as preservation for the Kanni (month of famine). Onam Sadya (vegetarian meals served on Banana leaf) and together they swing and participate in Thiruvathirakali (dance form).
For each Keralite, Onam is a celebration of Union – A Union of Minds, Hearts and Souls.