Onam The New Year Festival Of Kerala:
Onam festival is a massive festival for the Kerala people. The annual harvest festival is celebrated mainly in Kerala—the celebrations range from four to ten days. On the occasion of this festival, the activities are centred around worshipping, music, dances, sports, good food and boat racing.
The earliest record of the Onam festival was found during the reign of Kulasekhara Perumals around 800 AD. The Onam festival is also significant for welcoming 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 August or September. After the heavy rains, the sky becomes a clear blue, the fields are covered with greenery, and the forests form deep green. The brooks and stars are in full swing. The lakes and rivers overflow, and the mud flowers, Lotus and Lilies bloom. It is also the time to reap the harvest, celebrate, and rejoice.
Onam Festival and Puranic Story:
According to the Hindu sacred text Bhagavata Purana, king Mahabali, a powerful demon who ruled the underworld, lived there. He was solid, pious and demon nature. Once Lord Brahma granted him the power of invincibility, even gods failed to defeat him in battles. With their peculiar power, he defeated the whole earth and became the planet’s ruler. Soon Mahabali went to war with Lord Indra, the king of demigods. A fierce battle followed, and Asura defeated Indra and occupied Indra’s territory. Then Bali became the king of Heaven also.
Thus he became the undisputed king of all three worlds. He and his cohorts started torturing the demigods. Their violence became intolerable, and all the demigods collectively approached Lord Vishnu and asked for his help. Aditi, the Mother of Indra, was distraught over her son’s defeat and sincerely prayed to Lord Vishnu. Pleased Vishnu appeared before her and informed her that he would place a child in her womb and help Indra. On the last twelfth day of the month of Bhadrapada, Aditi gave birth to a son called Vamana, another incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
On another side, Bali had a good character; he rejoiced in doing deeds and giving alms to people experiencing poverty. No person coming to his door ever left an empty hand. Once, he was performing the sacrificial rite of Aswamedha Yagna on the banks of the Narmada river. Vamana went to the spot. Mahabali warmly welcomed Vamana, and Bali promised Vamana to fulfil whatever he desired. Then Vamana asked Bali three paces of ground measured by his foot. Bali agreed to give him three feet of hand and asked to measure three feet of land as he wished.
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 bent 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 questioned Bali’s desire. Then Bali requested Lord Vishnu to allow him to visit his kingdom to see his people once a year. Vamana permitted mahabali to visit his subjects once a year. On the occasion of his advent to Kerala, the People of Kerala celebrate the Onam festival to honour him.
Onam and Pookkalam:
On the occasion of the Onam festival, the devotees prepare the Pookkalan with attractive decorations. The devotees gathered various flowers, made them into beautiful designs, and spread them d them on the floor before the house. It is similar to Rangoli.
The Traditional Kasav Sari:
This kasav sari is traditional and attractive. They are dressing up in the conventional mood significant for prosperous and truthful life during the flawless reign of king Mahabali. Men wear white dhoti with golden borders, called Mundu, and women wear white sarees with golden edges. The dresses add colour to the Onam festival.
Onam festival is a big festival for the Kerala people. They celebrate the festival on a grand scale to honour Mahabali. The devotees perform the dances, Elephant processions and conduct snake boat competitions, which are famous worldwide.
Like this, the Kerala people start the new year with great joy.