History of the Onam Festival

Read about the history of Onam festival. Onam is the most favorite festival of Kerala. Onam is a festival of flowers. The festival Onam is celebrated on Malayalam month ‘chingam’, which is the first month in Malayalam calendar. All Keralitis are celebrating this festival with out any separation of cast and religion. The day, in which the ancient Kerala king, Mahabali, visit Kerala to see his people.

History of Onam

Onam is the largest and most attractive festival of Kerala. According to the legend the day in which the king Mahabali, the ancient king of Kerala, visited his peoples. As per legend Mahabali was the power full king of Kerala in all means, his only aim was goodness and prosperous of his peoples who lived on his country. For long years ago the Mhabali was the great, sincere, judicious and illustrious ruler of Kerala from Asura family. He was the grandson of Prahlada and son of Hiranyakashyapa. He was a great ruler, as a ruler his power and greatness day to day increased among the peoples, this was irritated the Deva's family and they are decided to destroying the king Mahabali.

Kashyapa had two wives, Diti from Demons family (Aura Vamsam) and Aditi from Gods family (Deva vamsam). The Kashyapa had gone to the Himalayas to do penance and when he came back he found his wife Aditi, from Devas family they had jealous to the Mahabali's greatness, was crying and he had recognized her sorrows through his divine insight. He had tried to calm her and said that "nothing happens in the world with out divine and asked her to pray to the Maha Vishnu and trained Payovrata, a routine spiritual pooja, as per his advice she had starting her Payovratha spiritually finally the lord Maha Vishnu appeared before her and informed her that he would help to reduce the greatness of Mahabali and the lord Vishnu decided to test Mahabali. At the same time Mahabali was in a special spiritual pooja called Adwamedha Yagam, as a part of this Yagam the king Mahabali acknowledged that he would give anything that anyone wished from him. At this moment the Maha Vishnu disguised as a poor Brahmin named Vamana and he approached the Mahabali on Yaga shala. The Mahabali received this poor Brahmin boy and gave a seat for him in Yaga shala. The Vamana tolled Mahabali that he wanted a piece of land and he the Brahmin said that he just wanted as much land as could be covered by his three steps. The King was surprised to hear his words but he was ready to full fill his ambition.

An adviser of the King, Shukracharya noted that Vamana was not an ordinary Brahmin man and warned the Mhabali from giving land to him. But, the Mahabali was a powerful king; he would never go back on his words and asked the Brahmin to take the land. The king Mahabali could not imagine that the Brahmin was the Lord Vishnu himself.

The Brahmin Vamana began to enlarge and eventually increased himself that bigger than earth, and he covered the whole of earth from his first foot step, then he covered the whole of skies from his second foot step, and finally there is no space for his third foot step. The Brahmin asked the king where is the space for him to keep his third foot step, at the same time the king Mahabali realized that the Brahmin not an ordinary man and he will destroy this earth through his third foot step but the king wants to keep his promise so he asked the Brahmin to place his third foot step on his head. The Brahmin placed his third foot step on the King's head and pushed him to Pathala. Meanwhile the King Mahabali requested the Brahmin to explore his real identity, now the Maha Vishnu appeared himself before the king. The king requested the Maha Vishnu to allow him to see his people one day per year. The Keralitis believes and celebrates this day as Onam. As part of Onam celebration the peoples are arranging lot of programs along the Kerala. From the Malayalam day Atham to ten days are celebrated as Onam. For these ten days the most of Keralitis are making athapookalam in front of their houses for these ten days regularly.

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Author: k k manoj kumar02 Sep 2012 Member Level: Silver   Points : 0

A must for all the malayalee to know regarding the onam.I enjoyed reading the history regarding the onam.

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