Onam – the Festival of Joy

Arathi Sasidharan, IIK Young Contributor
Sunday, August 27, 2017
Arathi Sasidharan
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Onam is a very popular festival celebrated in the southern part of India, in Kerala. When Onam is round the corner, all children and the parents feel extremely happy about the fun and happiness they will get. But, actually, where did this popular festival originate from? Or what is the story behind the festival of Onam?
According to the Hindu mythology, King Mahabali was the grandson of Prahlada , son of Hiranyakashipu. After conquering the three worlds (Earth, Heaven and Hell ), he decided to perform a sacrificial Yagna and being a very generous person , he thus told that he would give anything to anyone who came requesting for it . Lord Vishnu , took the form of a small Brahmin boy called , Vamana . Vamana went to Lord Mahabali and asked for three properties of land , that measured three paces of his foot . Lord Mahabali offered his conquered territories but Vamana completely occupied it all within his 2 paces . Mahabali offered himself for the third pace , and thus he was humbled of his pride . Vishnu pushed him to the Paatal lok , but he also granted him a boon stating that Lord Mahabali could revisit his land once in a year and bless his people and land . And this auspicious day marks the arrival of Lord Mahabali on thelands which he once conquered.

Usually, Onam is celebrated for 10 days, mostly in the month of August-September and the name of the ten days is – (according to the Malayalam astrological stars)

Onam is celebrated irrespective of caste and no matter how rich or poor, all of the people worldwide celebrate this beautiful festival. It is also marked as the New Year Day for Malayali Hindus.

•During the early morning hours of the 10 days of this Onam, Pookalam is made in front of all the houses with a variety of beautiful, fresh flowers and it adds more charm to this celebration.
•“Kodi” in Malayalam means “new”. On the last day of Onam (Thiruvonam), all of the people wear new dresses called “Onakodi”and it brings happiness to the people.
•Children playing in the swing in their houses are another common tradition followed during Onam.
•One of the most important events that take place during Onam is the famous “Boat Racing” or “Vallam Kalli”in Malayalam.
•Thiruvonam is the day when we all eat the tasty delicacies of the “Onam Sadhya”. It includes a 9-course meal of traditional South Indian dishes served on the plaintain leaves. After all, what is an Onam celebration without an amazing Sadhya.

Infact , Onam is round the corner , and I can already smell the the irresistable scent of sambar cooking in the large pot , women working jointly to make the crunchy papads and I can also visualise the dance , the songs , the flowers , the fun and a lot of amusement . And that is how the joyous festival of Onam is celebrated among Malayalis all around the world. So readers, wish you all a happy and prosperous Onam!

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Posted on Monday, September 11, 2017

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