This year, the big cultural celebration of Onam in Kerala has brightened the calendar from August 20 to August 31, spanning a wonderful ten-day period.
Onam, a prominent cultural event in the state of Kerala, has graced the calendar this year from 20 August to 31 August. Thiru-Onam or Thiruvonam celebrations, which last 10 days are filled with enthusiasm and exuberance as they identify the return of the legendary King Mahabali, also known as Maveli. This colourful event reflects Kerala’s rich cultural history.
A Joyous Journey Through Onam’s Days
Each day of Onam has its own special importance, adding to the vast tapestry of this holiday season. The days are meticulously woven into the cultural fabric of the event: Atham, Chithira, Chodi, Vishakam, Anizham, Thriketta, Moolam, Pooradam, Uthradom, and ultimately, Thiruvonam. These days, people’s hearts are touched by rituals, customs, and festivals.
Thiruvonam: The Celebration’s Culmination
Thiruvonam, the culmination of the Onam celebration, is blessed. This final day is marked by a sense of closure because it marks the conclusion of the lengthy festivities. Families and communities get together to celebrate the magnificent custom of Onasadya, a spectacular feast that exhibits Kerala’s gastronomic riches. Onasadya is a testament to the state’s culinary skill, with a wonderful selection of meals that are devoured with unrivaled zeal.
Examining the Historical and Cultural Importance
Onam, which falls between the months of August and September according to the Malayali calendar, marks the start of the Malayalam year, known as Kolla Varsham. This harvest celebration is inspired by the mythology of King Mahabali, a kind and compassionate king. His return to Kerala is regarded as a homecoming that bridges the gap between the earthly and celestial worlds.
King Mahabali and Lord Vishnu’s Story
The Gods were envious of King Mahabali’s authority over all three planets, according to tradition. Lord Vishnu took his fifth incarnation as the Brahmin dwarf Vamana in order to restore cosmic balance. Vamana requested three plots of land when visiting Mahabali. With his first two steps, he traversed the width of the heavens and the netherworld in a spectacular display of heavenly strength. Vishnu, moved by Mahabali’s selflessness, granted him the right to rule his kingdom till the end of Kalyuga, as well as the right to visit his subjects on Onam.
The Glorious Onam 2023 Celebrations
Kerala celebrates Onam with a fervor that is felt across the area. This ten-day period is a symphony of customs and ceremonies. Early morning showers, painstaking cleaning of dwellings, vivid flower displays known as Pookalam, and the rich Onam Sadhya, which includes a variety of cuisines, are all part of the festivities. Families dressed in new clothes exchange jewels and traditional outfits, reaffirming links of love and harmony.
Acceptance of Traditions and Culture
Kerala comes alive with festive events as Onam unfolds its tapestry of culture. Traditional sports like as Onakalikal, the exhilarating boat race known as Vallamkali, the colorful tableau of Pulikali with tiger and hunter symbols, and the skilled exhibition of archery weave together a celebration that resonates with history, tradition, and togetherness.
Onam is a celebration of togetherness, love, and culture that reverberates across time, linking generations and hearts in a harmonic chorus of delight in every part of Kerala.
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Saji Cherian, Kerala’s Minister for Culture