For Malayalis across the world, the festive spirit has now set in completely, as the most important festival of Onam is around the corner. What makes this a unique festival is that people of all religions celebrate it in their own way, making it a one-of-its-kind celebration in God’s own country.
The festival of Onam falls in the Malayalam month of Chingam, starting as a ten day festival from the day that is marked as ”Atham” as per the Malayalam calendar and the festive day is known as Thiruvonam. When the festival begins on the day of Atham, celebrations are held across the state and this is called as ”Atthachamayam”. The Atthachamayam celebrations start off with a procession in Thripunithara which is in Kochi and it is here that the celebrations are flagged off. Asura King
This year, the Onam festival began on August 25th and will continue till September 4. Some of the customary celebrations include making beautiful floral carpets every day at home and of course, the best is reserved for Thiruvonam. The word ”Thiruvonam” means ”Sacred Day of Onam”.
The festival honours an Asura King called Mahabali. The popular legend is that King Mahabali visits every home in the state to find out for himself how happy his people are and the ten day festival of Onam is how Malayalis begin the preparations to welcome their much loved King. So, you may wonder why an Asura King is given so much love and respect in ”God’s Own Country?”
This is what makes Onam a very different festival. King Mahbali was a generous, compassionate and popular ruler. People loved him because his reign is believed to have established law and order, prosperity and happiness among all communities. Known as the golden era of Kerala, the return of King Mahabali every year fills the Malayali’s heart with considerable nostalgia and happiness. That is why ‘Thiruvonam’ is celebrated on such a grand scale in every nook and corner of the state and across the world, wherever Malayalis celebrate this day.