Onam, the Harvest Festival of Kerala is one of the most special events of the south west region of India. All peoples of Kerala celebrate this festival with lots of dedication and jollity, without thinking about their caste or religion. It is a ten-day long festival, starting with Atham day and ends on Thiruvonam. Visitors come from all across the globe to enjoy this festival.
Onam 2017 will begin on Friday, 25 August and ends on Wednesday, 6 September.
Traditional Kaikottikali dance, Snake Boat Race, superbly decorated Pookalam and aromatic food are some of the most significant features of Onam festival.
For centuries, the festival holds an importance place in the calendar of Kerala Festivals.The ten days long festival starts from Atham and ends on Thiruvonam. The atmosphere also seems to join the celebration, with the blooming of a variety of flowers and sighting of a lot of butterflies, and songs of birds. In short this festival is a perfect combination of singing, dancing and feasting.
According to the legends, Mahabali was a kindhearted diamond king. In his rule the kingdom was even better than the heavens and land got prospered. Even the gods of heaven got jealous and trapped him. The king was pushed down to the Patala by Lord Vishnu in the form of Vamana, but Lord Vishnu granted him a boon that he is allowed to visit his people once a year and see his loving people. So it is believedthat, King Mahabali visits earth on Onam.
From the starting day, the courtyards of houses, clubs, offices, will be decorated with special floral decorations. Each and every house is embellishing with fresh branches of red coconut, coconut fronds and banana leaves. These preparations are made to welcome the King Mahabali.
The Grand preparations
The celebration of this festival is to welcoming of the spirit of the sacred King Mahabali from exile to wish him well. The whole house is adorned with fresh branches of red coconut, coconut fronds and banana leaves. Women wear kasav sari(white color sari with zari border), adorn themselves with designer jewelry and nicely pin the strings of fresh flower in their long black tresses. Men dress up in mundu (white dhoti with golden or a colorful border). Children will get a yellow piece of cloth called onakkohdi or manjakkohdi.
All the religious and secular spirits are visible in the celebrations of the festival and all sects of community take an active participation in the celebrations.
During the Onam festival, people decorate their house with firm and colorful flower mats, also popular as ‘Pookalam’. It is a dramatic decoration made of flowers in different pattern and designs that is displayed in the front courtyard of multi-family homes. Every day more flowers are added and the design becomes more intricate and detailed.
Sports activities and cultural events(Onakalikal)
Onam is known for the traditional sports and activities that are performed over the 10 days.
Numbers of sports and games events are organized to add more thrill to the festival celebrations. Some interesting sports areKutukutu, Talappanthukali and combats.
Snake Boat Races
Snake boat races are so popular all over the world that international tourists book reservations well in advance to enjoy this event. During this event magnificent snake boats compete for the award honor.Each boat has a crew of 150 men and the rowers are accompanied by traditional singers that help the rowers keep time.
The major attraction of Onam is known as Onasadya. The meal traditionally consists of 11 mandatory courses, though most people serve at least 13. The food is normally served in a traditional way, while sitting on the floor using banana leaves as plates.
Onasadya will be there in each and every home in Kerala. Ladies prepare different snacks like Achappam, Murukku, Munthirikothu, Alanga, Upperietc also a very luxurious lunch is preparing for all the family with more than one type of Payasam(kheer).
Shopping is also a big fantasy at this season. Everyone buys clothes, handicrafts, artifacts, Electronics, textile items. Onam festival is the biggest shopping season.
This leaf shaped state – Kerala invite you on this grand occasion.
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