Onam ? The Grand Homecoming of King Mahabali
Onam is a ten-day harvest festival joyfully dedicated to the homecoming of King Mahabali. This is the time, when whole Kerala comes together to exhibit their local cultures and traditions in the most elaborate way. People of Kerala, who consider themselves King Mahabali?s subject wait the whole year for this grand occasion that falls between August and September. It is said that the soul of Mahabali visits Kerala during the time of Onam Festival and blesses his subjects.
Legend Behind Onam
Mahabali, although a demon was a kind hearted and caring King. People of Kerala used to worship him for his greatness. Looking at the people?s devotion for Mahabali, the heavenly gods felt insecure. They prayed to Lord Vishnu to do something about the situation. Lord Vishnu descended on earth and took the guise of a dwarf Brahmin (vamana). He went seeking alms from the mighty Mahabali who was so kind that he never refused anything to anyone.
The dwarf Brahmin approached Mahabali and made a strange wish. He wanted whatever came under his three steps; King Mahabali granted the same. The dwarf Brahmin took a huge form and covered the heavens in one step, all lands and seas with another. He asked Mahabali, where to keep his third step. Mahabali understood that he is not a common mortal. He bowed down and told the dwarf Brahmin to keep the third step on his head. Brahmin did the same and Mahabali got pushed in Patal Lok (netherworld) that exits under the ground. Even after being a demon, Mahabali was a great king and his people loved him. So Lord Vishnu granted him a wish to be able to visit his land, Kerala once in a year and see his subjects. Since then, this homecoming is celebrated with ritual mask dances, decorations, delicious cuisines and boat races. Just the same way a King is being entertained and honoured in any country.
Celebrations for Onam Harvest Festival
The festival of Onam lasts for ten days. All these days represent the cultures and traditions of the state in the form of grand feasts, beautiful folk songs, graceful dances, lively games, elephants, boats and colourful flowers. Women folk prepare Onasadya during this auspicious festival. This grand meal is prepared by everyone irrespective of social and financial status. The feast is served in a traditional manner on plantain leaves and has nine courses.
Vallam Kali which means boat races remains an integral part of Onam festival. Hundreds of locals participate in these boat races in which over 100 feet long boats are made which are then rowed by over 100 people. Aranmula Uthrattadhi Boat Race is organised during the Onam festival. Locals can also been seen performing Pulikali which is a traditional tiger dance performance. Kummattikali, a special mask dance also remains popular during Onam celebrations which are performed by both men and women. The festival transforms the state of Kerala in a cultural ground where every corner looks splendid with beautiful decors representing the liveliness of traditions residing here.
Onam Festival Kerala South India is a great time to know the God?s Own Country. Choose from range of packages offered by Caper Travels and join Kerala for the grand homecoming of King Mahabali.
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