Onam The New Year Festival Of Kerala:
Onam festival is a very big festival to the Kerala people. It is the annual harvest festival and celebrates mainly in Kerala. The celebrations ranging from four to ten days. On the occasion of this festival, the activities are centered around worshipping, music, dances, sports, good food and boat racing.
The earliest record of the Onam festival found during the reign of Kulasekhara Perumals around 800 AD. The Onam festival also significance to welcome king Mahabali, whose spirit is said to visit Kerala at the time of Onam. The festival celebrates according to the Malayalam calendar called Kollavarsham. The Onam festival celebrates in the month of August or September. After the heavy rains, the sky becomes a clear blue and the fields covered with greenery, the forests form into a deep green. The brooks and stars are in full swing. The lakes and rivers overflow and the mud flowers Lotus and Lilies are in full bloom. It is also the time to reap the harvest to celebrate and to rejoice.
Onam Festival and Puranic Story:
According to the Hindu sacred text Bhagavata Purana, there lived king Mahabali, a powerful demon who ruled the underworld. He was very strong, pious and demon nature. Once Lord Brahma granted him the power of invincible and even gods fail to defeat him in battles. With the peculiar power, he defeated whole earth and became the ruler of the earth. Soon Mahabali went to war with Lord Indra, the king of demigods. A fierce battle followed and Asura defeated Indra and proceeded to occupy Indra’s territory. Then Bali became the king of Heaven also.
Thus he became undisputed king of all the three worlds. He and his cohorts started torturing the demigods. Their violence became intolerable, then all the demigods collectively approached Lord Vishnu and asked for his help. Aditi Mother of Indra was very upset over her son’s defeat and she prayed to Lord Vishnu with utmost sincerity. Pleased Vishnu appeared before her and informed her that he would himself place a child in her womb and help Indra. Later twelveth day of the month of Bhadrapada, Aditi gave birth to a son called Vamana, It was the another incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
Bali had good character on another side, he rejoiced in doing deeds and giving alms to the poor. No person coming to his door ever left empty hand. Once he was performing the sacrificial rite of Aswamedha Yagna on the banks of Narmada river. Vamana went to the spot. Vamana was warmly welcomed by Mahabali and Bali promised to Vamana to fulfill whatever he desired. Then Vamana asked Bali three paces of ground measured by his own foot. Bali agreed to give him three feet of hand and asked to measure three feet of land as his wish.
Vamana at once grows in size. With one foot, he measured all of the earth, with the other, he claimed all of the heavens. There was no place for his third step. Bali bends his head and asked Vamana to step on it. Vishnu was pleased with the devotion of Mahabali before he put his feet on Bali’s head Vamana asked Bali’s desire. Then Bali requested Lord Vishnu to allow him to visit his kingdom to see his people once a year. Vamana granted mahabali the permission to visit his subjects once a year. On the occasion of his advent to Kerala, People of Kerala celebrate the Onam festival to honor him.
Onam and Pookkalam:
On the occasion of the Onam festival, the devotees prepare the Pookkalan with attractive decoration. The devotees gather a various variety of flowers and made them into a beautiful design and spread on the floor before the house. It is similar to Rangoli.
The Traditional Kasav Sari:
This kasav sari is traditional and attractive. Dressing up in the traditional mood significance of prosperous and truthful life during the flawless reign of the king Mahabali. Men wear white dhoti with golden borders, called Mundu and women wear white sarees with golden border. The dresses add color to the Onam festival.
Onam festival is the big festival to the Kerala people. They celebrate the festival in grand scale to honor Mahabali. The devotees perform the dances, Elephant processions and conduct to snake boat competitions, which are very famous all over the world.
Like this, the Kerala people start the new year with great joy.