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Onam Festival


Onam is the national festival of Kerala and it is the most important, popular and colourful festival. The Keralites (Malayalies) are celebrating Onam Festival all over the world in the Malayalam month of Chingam (August-September). People are creating 'pookalam' by using different veriety of flowers, in front of their houses from the day of 'atham' star and that will continue to the next 10 days.

There are many interesting legends behind the origin of Onam.

Most famous legend behind onam :

Onam is celebrating, irrespective of religion, in memory of the golden era of King Mahabali whose spirit is supposed to visit Kerala at the day of Thiruvonam, to enquire about people's wellbeing.

Mahabali, the King of Demons (Asuras), was the ruler of Kerala. He was wise and a very good ruler. During the reign of Mahabali people were happy. There were no differences between the rich and the poor. There was no sorrow, poverty or disease in his kingdom. There were no corruption or crime. All people were treated alike during Mahabali's rule.


By seeing his rising popularity, the Gods in the heaven feared that he will become very powerful and that would be a strong challenge and threat to their supremacy. The gods approached Vishnu and asked for his help. Vishnu incarnated himself as a Brahmin dwarf called 'Vamana' and went to Mahabali, who was performing the sacrificial rite of Aswamedha Yagna, declared that he would give anything that anyone sought from him during this Yagna. Vamana sought three steps of land from Mahabali. Mahabali agreed and Vamana then grew in size until he towered above the heavens. With first foot, he measured all of the earth. With the second, he claimed all of the heaven. When he asked Mahabali, where to place his third step, he humbly offered his head to the divine deity. Vamana placed the third step on the head of Bali and suppressed him to Patala, the underworld. Pleased with his virtues, Vishnu made him the king of Pathala and granted a boon to him that he could visit his kingdom once a year. Thus, Keralites celebrate Onam festival to welcome the Great King Mahabali. People have been celebrating this festival from the very old age and we have records of Onam celebration during the reign of Kulasekhara Perumals around 800 AD.

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