Why Do We Celebrate Onam An Indian Festival of Flowers


September 7 is Onam and is a great time of celebration in the state of Kerala in India. A visit here during this time will fill your travels with fragrance of flowers and a taste of joy. This is a great time to be here as it commemorates the return of King Mahabali to Kerala.

Legend has it that Mahabali , the grandson of Prahlada was a great king of Kerala. Prahalada was the son of the demon king Hiranyakashipu who was killed by Lord Vishnu during his avatar of Narasimha. King Mahabali was a generous and good king and once had a yagna. Lord Vishnu in the guise of a Brahmin lad visited his kingdom. King Mahabali received him with full honours not knowing who the lad was. When the king asked what the lad would want to be given, the lad who was actually Lord Vishnu asked to be given land covered by three of his footsteps. King Mahabali agreed. Lord Vishnu grew in size and took his full size .

'Vamana Avatar' (incarnation as 'Vamana') of V...

The lad called Vamana now took one step and covered Earth, the other step covered heaven, the third had no place, so King Mahabali offered his head.

Lord Vishnu pleased with this devotion made him the king of the underworld. But King Mahabali liked his subjects so much that he used to come to visit them once a year. This is the Onam Day.

It is a wonderful sight to see courtyards decorated with designs of flowers.

Onam pookalam 2011
Onam pookalam 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People prepare a grand feast and wear new clothes called Onakoddi. The feast is called a Sadhya and has many sweets, and dishes in tow.

English: Picture of traditional Kerala feast

People in Kerala cover their bodies with colours and wear colourful fancy costumes and have a dress parade .

English: `Onapottan' - a folk character seen d...

There are other things like Pulikkali, Vallam Kali, Onattapan, Athachamayam , Thumbi thullal, Pookakalam,which are elements of this festival. So with the Ganesh Chaturthi going on in full celebration, now it is time to celebrate Onam too. Happy Onam !


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