The Onam Festival Of Kerala

Published: 14th June 2011
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Kerala is a beautiful small state situated in the south of India. The state is immensely beautiful with rich cultural and traditional background. The state was first in India to attain 100% literacy. Kerala celebrates several festivals in total traditional way. Onam is the biggest of them all which falls during the first month of the Malayalam calendar which is Chingam (August–September). The festival marks homecoming of the legendary King Mahabali, who ruled the state a very long time ago. The festival is celebrated to recall the sacrifice of the great King Mahabali and his true devotion to God. Intricate flower carpets, feasting, snake boat races, song, Kaikottikkali dance and merriment, all play a part in the festival.

The festival of Onam is celebrated to welcome the spirit of King Mahabali, wish him well and assure him that his people are happy. The Onam festival brings out the best of Kerala culture and tradition.

According to the legend, everybody in Kerala was happy and prosperous in the reign of King and the state witnessed its golden era during the period. The king was a demon king and was highly regarded by his subjects. The regard for the king by his subjects was so high that soon his fame began to spread far and wide. Due to this the Gods felt challenged and began to fear the growing powers of King Mahabali. The king had only one shortcoming apart from all his virtues, that he was very egoistic. The Gods took advantage of this weakness of the King’s character and utilised it to bring an end to his reign. The Gods conspired against the king and sent Lord Vishnu to earth to curtail his powers. Lord Vishnu changed his form to a dwarf and trampled him down to the netherworld. However, for all the good deeds done by the King, Lord Vishnu granted him a boon that he could visit his land and people once every year.

King Mahabali visits his people every year and Lord Vishnu serves him as a gatekeeper in the netherworld as the Lord himself serves his greatest devotees and the legendary king is one of them. The festival of Onam is celebrated every year to welcome the visit of King Mahabali.

People, including children, make all efforts to impress their King by celebrating the festival in a grand manner and making elaborate preparations. It is indeed a treat to be a part of this festival and the grand carnival of Onam.

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