Onam - Festival of KeralaOnam is the state festival of Kerala. It is a harvest festival. The celebrations will be extended for ten days. Onam is celebrated in the month of chingam in malayalam calender. The celebrations of onam start on 'Atham', before ten days of 'thiruvonam'. This will be extended to two or three days after the 'thiruvonam' also.
The ten days of the Onam celebration are as follows.
Uthradam is considered as first onam and thiruvonam is considered as second onam. celebrations will be extended to third onam that is 'Avittam' and also to fourth onam that is 'Chathayam'.
Myth behind Onam: Onam is celebrated as the visit of King Mahabali to the state of Kerala every year. King Mahabali who ruled Kerala was wise, judicious and extremely generous.Everybody was happy in the kingdom, there was no discrimination on the basis of caste or class. Rich and poor were equally treated. There was neither crime, nor corruption. People did not even lock their doors, as there were no thieves in that kingdom. There was no poverty, sorrow or disease in the reign of King Mahabali and everybody was happy and content. That was huge challenge for gods and it threatens thier supremacy. Lord Vishnu disguised as a poor brahmana named Vamana and gone to Mahabali to ask for some boons. Mahabali who is so generous told him to ask whatever he want. Vamana asked for three feet land. King agreed and then Vishnus leg extended and with his first step he covered the whole earth and with his second step he covered the sky. Then he asked where he can put his third step. The king understood that he is a lord and asked Vamana to put the feet on his head. Then he went to Pathala, nether world. Lord Vishnu gave him a boon that Mahabali can visit kerala once in a year. And that day is celebrated as thiruvonam to welcome Mahabali.
Pookkalam: Pookkalam is the major attraction of onam festival. Pookkalam will be put on courtyard of houses. It will be started from the 'Atham' day and will be continued on ten days. Pookkalam will be in beatiful designs and 'Thrikkakara appan' model was made with clay and put on pookkalams.
Onam Sadhya : 'Kaanam vittum Onam unnanam'. Sadhya is a important part of onam. This will be delicious vegetarian food. There will be so many items with rice. Aviyal, Thoran, Ishtu, Pappadam, Sambhar, Olan, Pulinchi, achar, Kichadi, upperi, kayanurukk, payasam, pradhaman etc are the items for the onam sadhya. This sadhya will be eating in a banana leaf.
Celebrations : People used to gather in their own home with parents and family and have so many celebrations for onam. Thiruvathirakali, Kaikottikali will be the enjoyment for ladies and Men will be doing Kayyankali, Onathallu, Pulikkali etc.
Onam is a celebration of remembrance. The celebrations are nowadays limited in front of television. The clubs and organizations are organizing some artificial onam. The celebrations and enjoyments are decreasing year by year. Onam is the passion of people of kerala and it should be maintained in a better way to maintain our harmony.