Thiruvananthapuram: Keralites today
celebrated the harvest festival of Onam with traditional gaiety and enthusiasm, commemorating a mythical past of peace, prosperity and equality.
In houses, floral carpets were laid to welcome mythical demon King Mahabali, who is believed to visit his subjects on `Thiruvonam` day of the Malayalam month of Chingam (first month of the Malayalam calendar).
According to legend, King Mahabali once ruled a land of plenty, where his subjects were happy. But the Gods grew jealous of him and got him banished to the netherworld by Lord Vishnu in his reincarnation as `Vamana` (dwarf).` The Lord, however, gave the King permission to visit his subjects once a year on Thiruvonam day.
People wearing new clothes thronged temples in the morning. The important part of the celebration is a grand feast on plantain leaves at noon in all homes.
The week-long Onam celebrations, being organised by the state tourism department began yesterday. A series of cultural programmes are slated to be held during the week, culminating with a procession on September 3.