Onam is one of the most important and famous festival in Kerala and India. It is the National festival of Kerala. Onam usually held in August and September for 10 days, originated in Kerala. According to the Malayalam calendar is the first month of the year called as Chingam. Vamanamoorthy Temple in Thrikkakara northeast of Ernakulam near Kochi is mainly associated with the Onam festival. The festival is believed to have originated at this temple. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vamana, the fifth avatar of Lord Vishnu.
According to the ancient legends, this festival of rain flowers was celebrated to remember the arrival of Asura King Mahabali’s annual visit from Patala. The story revolves around the time when Kerala was ruled by the demon king Mahabali who was known for his generosity. The legend holds that jealous of King Mahabali’s popularity and his power, the Gods conspired to end his rules. They sent Lord Vishnu to earth in the form of a Brahmin. Knowing their concern, Lord Vishnu disguised himself as a poor Brahmin called Vamana. When he arrived at the kingdom of the demon king, he asked Mahabali to grant him the land which he can cover within three feet. Being a kind hearted and charitable person, the king approved his wish and soon the Vamana started to grow in size and his first and second step covered the sky and earth. As the brahmin was about to take the third step, the demon king walked and asked him to keep his last step on his head which lead him to Patala. However for the good manners of Mahabali, Lord Vishnu granted him a boon that he can annually visit his people which led to the celebration of the Onam festival in India.
- Events During Onam Festival
It is an outstanding celebration which marks the beginning of the ten-day Onam Festival. This includes different Kerala art forms, musicians, dancers and carnival floats and decorated elephants which walk down the streets.
Pookalam: The Floral Decorations & Arrangement
Onam festival is also called the festival of flowers and Pookalam is one of the forms of celebrating this grand festival. This is refers to making designs with different types of flowers in front of the gate of house and temple.
Pulikali: The Grand Tiger Dance
The literal meaning of Pulikali is ‘the play of the tiger’, which was started two hundred years ago. For the dance hundreds of people get themselves painted and dressed similar as a tiger and later they perform dance on traditional music.
Onam Sadya: The Complete Meal
This the grand meal prepared at the day Thiruonam. Onasadya meal is served on a Banana leaf and is a nine course meal which comprises of 11-13 traditional dishes.