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onamThis week, Hindus in southern India are witnessing some high-spirited celebrations. People in the coastal state of Kerala go crazy over the state festival of Onam, with ten days of feasting, boat races, song, dance and merriment. This year, the most important day of Onam - Thiru Onam - falls on Monday, September 16, 2013.

Onam marks the homecoming of King Mahabali and the beginning of the harvest season. Read the various myths and legends behind its origin.

Spectacular parades of caparisoned elephants, fireworks and the famous Kathakali dance are traditionally associated with Onam. It's also the season of many cultural and sport events and carnivals. All this makes Onam-time a perfect period to visit Kerala, aka "God's Own Country". Find out more about this high-voltage festival. GO

Comments
September 8, 2011 at 6:09 am
(1) hena says:

Onam is a wonderful festival and the celebration is enjoyed the most with delicious Onam foods. Read on to know more http://www.ifood.tv/network/onam

August 28, 2012 at 6:24 am
(2) Rama Rao K says:

The story of Mahabali needs to be viewed from a different but a historic perspective – Mahabali probably represented the peaceful and progressive Dravidians as opposed to the marauding and aggressive invading Aryans who perhaps even resorted to clever subterfuges to conquer. The Aryans were in turn defeated by still more aggressive tribes from Middle East and Central Asia during the medieval periods before being conquered by adventurous and manipulating European colonizers.

September 17, 2013 at 4:43 am
(3) Su says:

Onam falls in the malayalam month of Chingam that follows right after the month of Karkadakom. Karkadakom month is considered the most difficult as incessant rains inundate fields and the constant down pour makes farm produce hard to come by. In fact Onam is usually celebrated about a week after the heavy rains dissipate.
As a very young child when we would come down for a vacation to my grandmother’s house, she would actually ‘save’ vegetables, fruits and sweetmeats for the onam week. I still remember small pumpkins and yams, precious green bananas and melons tied up by string attached to the roof beams in her store room. Suspended mid-air, my cousin and I would make futile schemes to somehow get them down. Often though we would come across a secret stache of jaggery or paada charkara (palm sugar) instead and gorge ourselves till we got caught and thrown out. The tradition of the pookalam (flower carpets) would also have the neighbourhood kids in a tizzy three days prior to when the carpets needed to be laid out. for thirteen nights poor granny would stay partially awake at night or bring all the flower pots into the house, since kids would steal the flowers at night, sometimes tripping over and smashing pots too. The pookalam is laid out for 10 days starting from the 1st day of Onam – with the largest pookalm laid out on the 10th day (thirovonam).
Onam in general injects so much energy into the air after the sogginess of the karkadakom month and that is generally why it’s such a special occassion and marked with so much revelry and feasting by everyone irrespective of caste and creed in Kerala.

September 17, 2013 at 8:37 am
(4) hinduism says:

Thanks, Su, for this wonderful account of Onam that brings back childhood memories so dear to our hearts!

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