Saturday, September 7, 2013

Onam Festival

Gods own country Kerala in the Southern Part of India, is one of the top most visited destinations in India enriched with diversed culture and traditions, floras and faunas, backwaters etc. It is home to many of the religions including Muslim, Christian, Hindu and many others; thus making it a place of great significance in the history and culture of South India. The people of this particular place possess a very worldly attitude and state of mind. All the people following different religions of this place comes together to celebrate each and every festivals and turned it into a great success. Of all the major festival celebrated in this region, Onam Festival which is celebrated with great pageantry and ritual stands as the most significant and unique among all the festivals. Let us inspect at some of the brief things about this festival.

Onam is the significant festival of great importance celebrated mainly by the people of Hindu community and other religions with immense eagerness all over the state of Kerala during the months of August/September. According to a legend, Mahabali the king of Kerala when it was a kingdom was a great king who always thought about the wellness and good for the people of his kingdom. It is believed that the people of the region were very happy and satisfied with his kingship. Thus, the gods in heaven got jealous of him and asked Lord Vishnu to take away his monarchy. Lord Vishnu concealed as a Brahmin dwarf Vamana, asked the King for three steps of land, which he willingly granted to the king. Vishnu then gets rid of his mask and covered the earth and heaven in two steps. For the third time, King Mahabali presented his head to the Lord but before putting his foot on Mahabali’s head, Lord Vishnu approved the King’s last wish, that he be able to attend his kingdom annually. Thus, to welcome the King Onam is celebrated with great joy.
Onam is celebrated for 10 days, the popularity and enthusiasm with which the festival is celebrated made it the National Festival of Kerala and the ten days of the festival are also promoted as the tourist week for Kerala. This Indian state witnesses the maximum number of travelers and tourists during this vivid festive season. Without the discrimination between gender, race, religion this festival is celebrated in a harmonious way.

Of the 10 days, the first day known as Atham in which people start with an early bath, perform prayings, and the tenth day Thiruvonam are the most significant of all. The festival is marked with music, novel activities, stunning decorations such as Pookalam (fancy and colourful model laid on the floorings as a part of the ceremony). Onasadya is a conventional feast which is prepared during this festive season. Several other activities are organized like; Kaikottikkali dance, snake boat race, recital of happy songs. The Onam song including of conventional and folk constitute a very important part of religious and traditional culture, combinely they are known as Onappattu.

The prosperous state of gods own country Kerala, thus magnetize and mesmerize tourists in a large number on this worldly celebration of this festival.