What is the legend behind Onam celebration? In the lush state of Kerala, India, a spectacular ten-day celebration unfolds each year, known as Onam Festival. This festival, often referred to as the “festival of rain flowers,” marks the harvest season and is a vibrant tapestry of traditions, culture, and legend.
Occurring in the Malayalam calendar’s first month, Chingam, which usually spans from mid-August to mid-September, Onam is a time when Kerala comes alive with colors, fragrances, and joyous festivities.
So, What is the legend behind Onam celebration?
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So, as per this What is the legend behind Onam celebration? articleThis year, the Onam Festival in 2023 commences on the 20th of August (Sunday) and concludes on the 31st of August (Thursday), with Thiruvonam, the most significant day, falling on August 29th, Tuesday.
So, according to this What is the legend behind Onam celebration? article Mythical tales that have shaped the Onam 2023 festival and the legends that lie behind them Onam, the vibrant and joyous harvest festival of Kerala, is more than just a celebration of the state’s cultural traditions.
This celebration can be traced back to ancient myths and legends.
It is a celebration of the compassionate leadership of Lord Vamana and the astute governance of the mythical demon king Mahabali. Let’s take a look at the myths and stories behind this colorful holiday as we begin the celebrations of Onam in the year 2023.
Onam is known for being a harvest festival.
Honoring King Mahabali
At the heart of Onam lies the legendary tale of King Mahabali. Onam is celebrated to honor this beloved king, who is believed to visit the land of Kerala during this time. As the festival unfolds, Kerala transforms into a realm of exotic tastes, captivating fragrances, and enchanting beauty that beckon tourists from all corners of the world.
The Essence of Onam
So, based on this What is the legend behind Onam celebration? article Onam is not just a harvest festival; it is a ten-day extravaganza that beautifully showcases Kerala’s rich culture and beauty.
The festivities include intricately designed Pookalam (flower rangolis), aromatic Onasadya (feasts), thrilling Snake-boat Races, and captivating Kaikottikali Dance.
The Story of Mahabali and Vamana Avatar
The legend of Onam revolves around the virtuous King Mahabali and the divine Vamana Avatar of Lord Vishnu. King Mahabali, an Asura emperor, ruled over Kerala in ancient times, and his reign was a golden era for the region. Under his rule, Kerala prospered, and equality, happiness, and contentment reigned. Corruption and discrimination became relics of the past.
The Envy of the Gods
The gods, envious of Mahabali’s growing fame and power, plotted to end his reign. Seeking Lord Vishnu’s assistance, they hatched a plan. Lord Vishnu assumed the form of a dwarf Brahmin named Vamana and approached Mahabali for a unique boon.
Mahabali’s Noble Gesture
Mahabali, renowned for his generosity, agreed to grant Vamana’s request. To everyone’s astonishment, Vamana grew to immense proportions, covering the earth, sky, and beyond in just two steps. Realizing Vamana’s divine nature, Mahabali humbly offered his head for the third step.
Mahabali’s Annual Visit
Vamana’s test had been successfully completed, and Mahabali’s selflessness had won him Lord Vishnu’s favor. Mahabali, deeply attached to his people, requested to visit his beloved Kerala once a year. Touched by the king’s nobility, Lord Vishnu granted his wish and blessed him with immortality in the hearts of the people.
Modern Onam Celebrations
Today, Onam is celebrated to welcome King Mahabali’s annual visit. The festival is a heartfelt tribute to his reign, a time when Kerala experienced unparalleled prosperity.
During the ten-day celebration, devotees engage in rituals, bathe, offer prayers, don traditional attire, create intricate Pookalams, and savor the traditional feast, Sadhya.
Key Onam Celebrations
The most prominent aspects of Onam celebrations include Sadhya, Thiruvathira Kali, Pookalam, Ona-thallu, Pulikali, Onavillu, Vallam Kali (boat races), Onathappan, Tug of War, Onapottan, Thumbi Thullal, Kummattikali, and Kazhchakkula.
Thrikkakara: The Epicenter of Onam
The festivities are centered around Thrikkakara, a place located 10 km from Kochi, which was once the capital during King Mahabali’s rule. The “Thrikkakara Appan” temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, plays a significant role in showcasing this captivating legend.
Conclusion – What is the legend behind Onam celebration?
Onam is not just a festival; it’s a grand celebration of a legendary king’s enduring love for his people. It reminds us of the values of equality, generosity, and selflessness embodied by King Mahabali.
As the people of Kerala welcome their beloved king each year, Onam continues to be a vibrant testament to the region’s rich heritage and culture. so this concludes topic for What is the legend behind Onam celebration?
Frequently Asked Questions
1. When is Onam celebrated?
Onam is celebrated during the Malayalam calendar’s first month, Chingam, which usually spans from mid-August to mid-September.
2. How is Onam celebrated?
Onam celebrations encompass various traditions, including creating flower rangolis (Pookalam), engaging in thrilling Snake-boat Races, and performing captivating dances like Kaikottikali. The festival also features a grand feast known as Sadhya.
3. What is Sadhya, and why is it significant during Onam?
Sadhya is a sumptuous multi-course vegetarian meal served on banana leaves. It symbolizes the prosperity and good times that prevailed during King Mahabali’s rule.
4. Who was King Mahabali, and why is he revered during Onam?
King Mahabali was an Asura emperor who ruled Kerala in ancient times. He is revered during Onam for his just and noble reign, characterized by happiness, equality, and contentment.
5. What is the significance of Pookalam during Onam?
Pookalam, intricate flower rangolis, symbolize unity and teamwork as family members come together to create them. They are made throughout the ten days of Onam to mirror the prosperity of King Mahabali’s reign.
6. Why are boat races important during Onam?
Boat races, known as Vallam Kali, are a thrilling part of Onam celebrations, showcasing Kerala’s love for water sports and tradition.
7. What is the legend behind Onam’s origin?
There are two prominent legends associated with Onam. One revolves around the reign of King Mahabali, while the other suggests that Kerala was created by Parasurama, an incarnation of Vishnu, by throwing his battle-axe into the sea.
8. What are the ten days of Onam called?
The ten days of Onam are Atham, Chithira, Chodi, Vishakam, Anizham, Thriketa, Moolam, Pooradam, Uthradom, and Thiruvonam, with Thiruvonam being the most significant.
9. How do people welcome King Mahabali during Onam?
People welcome King Mahabali by creating flower carpets (Pookalam) in front of their homes and preparing a grand feast (Sadhya). This is accompanied by various traditional rituals and dances.
10. Where is the epicenter of Onam celebrations in Kerala?
The epicenter of Onam celebrations is Thrikkakara, located 10 km from Kochi. The Thrikkakara Appan temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, plays a significant role in showcasing the legend of King Mahabali.