Kerala Festival of Onam or Thiruvonam typically takes place every year in August and September. In 2020, the celebration of the festival started on 24 August and will be concluded on 2 September. Keep scrolling down to know the history and significance of Onam.
What is Onam?
The term Onam was derived from the Sanskrit term Shravanam, referring to one of the 27 Nakshatras. In South India, Thiru serves whatever the lord Vishnu wants, and Thiruvonam is believed to be Lord Vishnu’s Nakshatra, who pressed King Mahabali down with his foot.
Onam is a ‘festival of harvest,’ which usually takes place in Kerala. Onam is celebrated with the arrangement of many activities and special pujas for ten days. This year the auspicious harvest festival will start from 22 August and continue until 2 September. During the harvest season, the festival takes place with a number of activities, including boat races, cultural gatherings, sports competitions, dance events, and martial arts.
History and Significance of Onam
The festival celebrates King Mahabali, Prahlada’s grandson,’s homecoming. King Mahabali defeated the Gods and began to reign over all three worlds according to Vaishnava mythology. Mahabali was a demon but people loved him for his goodness and kindness. The Gods were concerned about the Demon King’s popularity and so they asked Lord Vishnu for help.
His fifth avatar, the dwarf boy named Vamana, Vishnu, came near Mahabali. The King asked the boy what he wanted, and Vamana replied, “three pieces of land”
Vamana grew to a massive size and in just two paces covered everything Mahabali ruled over. King Mahabali offered his head to move on when Lord Vishnu was about to take his third step – an act that Vishnu embraced as a sign of Mahabali devotion. Vishnu gave him a blessing by which Mahabali will visit his kingdom and its people during the festivities of Onam each year.
The festival is held over a ten-day duration, starting with Atham and ending with Thiruvonam. The other 8 days are known in a row as Chithira, Chodhi, Vishakam, Anizham, Thriketa, Moolam, Pooradam, Uthradam.
The festivities include a number of events such as Pookkalam (flower Rangoli), Onathappan (worship), Onam Kali, Tug of War, Vallam Kali (boat races), Pulikali (tiger dances), Kummattikali (mask dances), Onathallu (martial arts), Atthachamayam (folk songs and dances). The day of Atham will mark the beginning of the Vamanamoorthy Thrikkakara temple festivities in Kochi.
This year, in response to the outbreak of new coronavirus, Keralans have been asked to celebrate the festival at home and make use of local florals for the traditional floral carpet.
Places to Observe Onam in India
Events Of Onam Festival
Various patterns are made and laid in front of their houses with the help of flowers. A new layer of flowers is applied to the Pookkalam during the Onam festival during the day. Pookkalam competitions are also held in some places.
At Thiruonam Onasadya on the main day, a banana leaf meal is served. It is a 9-course meal composed of at least 4 or 5 vegetables. Most families prepare for Onasadya nine to thirteen dishes. There are also many restaurants that serve up to 30 Onasadya dishes.
That includes all the games played at the Onam Festival. Talappanthukali is a ball game, a beloved men’s game. People are still playing ambery or archery. Women render Pookkalam and do other traditional dances as well.
4. Vallamkali Boat Race
It is also called a snake boat race. About a hundred boatmen compete with each other in a boat race. That’s the most common among people over there. The boats are finely painted in different colors. Even a number of people visit the town to see this race.
5. Elephant Procession
This is Onam’s most-attended gathering. The elephant is adorned with flowers, metals, and ornaments. Elephants dance and communicate with people by giving small gestures. The elephant is also made to take an entire round of Thrissur where this procession takes place.
6. Folk Dances
Women perform folk dances which are also a major festival attraction. Kaikottikali is a women’s clap-dance. They honor King Mahabali while dancing. They dance in a circle as well and this is known as Thumbi Thullai.
Onam 2020 Quotes And Wishes
- I extend my warmest wishes to you and to your family on this festive occasion. May peace and success bless you all in your life. Onam Greetings to you and your family!
- May your life be as colorful as the color of Onam. Wishing you good health and happiness. Happy Onam!
- I pray that Onam’s spirit will fill your hearts with joy on this festive occasion! I wish you a life full of joy, success, and fulfillment. Happy Onam!
- May Onam’s color and light fill your home with joy and prosperity. Good Onam! Good Onam! Happy Onam!
- In remembrance of the old and prosperous time in which we flourished, I wish you good fortune, joy, and prosperity in your future!
- It was wonderful to always share Onam with you. Although a mile away, my heart still has warm memories of the good time to celebrate. I wish you and your family a very happy Onam, to enjoy those happy moments!
- On the occasion of Onam, I pray for the abundance, happiness, and success of your life. Stay happy! Always stay blessed!
- I wish you happiness and health, and always enjoy nature’s abundance, on this occasion of Onam!
- I extend my warmest wishes to you and to your family on this festive occasion. May you all be blissfully and prosperously happy in your lives. Onam Greetings to you and your family!
- Happiness is in the air when Onam is around. Let the sweet fragrance of flowers fill our homes, and taunt our senses with the fragrance of homemade delicacies. Happy Onam!
- Here we wish you well-being, health, and happiness. May Onam’s spirit lives everywhere — wherever you go, whatever you do and with whomever, you may be. Happy Onam!
- May King Mahabali shower you with joy and good health. May your every hope, dream, and wish come true. Happy Onam!
- Happy Onam. I wish you happiness and good health on this joyous Onam occasion and may you always enjoy nature’s bounty!
Onam’s specialty is that the festival is celebrated in Kerala by one and all regardless of their religion. Malaya’s widespread global population has unique ideas for Onam celebrating every year to celebrate its tradition on this lovely day. If you’ve planned a trip to the country of God, there’s no better time than Onam-a glorious celebration of secularism and rich culture!
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