Mumbai: God’s own country – Kerala – is thrilled and excited to celebrate the age-old culture of Onam, the most important festival of this south Indian state.
The festival is celebrated in the month of Chingam according to the Malayalam calendar which is equivalent to the Hindu solar calendar followed by people in other parts of India. The festival is spread over 10 days and culminates with Thiruvonam, the most important day.
This year, Thiruvonam is on September 14.
Atham, Chitira, Chodhi, Vishakam, Anizham, Thriketa, Moolam, Pooradam, Utthradom and finally Thiruvonam together make Onam an elaborate ceremony.
Onam celebrates the annual homecoming of King Mahabali from Patala Loka, where he was sent by Lord Vishnu’s Vamana avatar.
It is believed that King Mahabali, the most benevolent Raja of Kerala visits his kingdom to see his subjects happy and prosperous on the occasion of the auspicious harvest festival.
Women participate in Pookolam (rangoli made of flowers) and perform Kaikottikali, a dance form. Dressed in their best fineries, women look resplendent in an off-white set sari with golden border, teamed up with gold jewellery. The men look dapper in white Veshti (dhoti) and shirt.
People get together to participate in a number of cultural activities to celebrate the festival in unison. Boat race (Vallam Kali), Pulikali (folk dance in the disguise of a tiger) and other dance and art forms specific to Kerala.
Sadya, an elaborate meal adds more magic to the celebrations.
Here’s wishing everyone a very Happy Onam.