Onam 2022 History and Significance: From religious stories to traditional nine-course feast; everything about the Malayali festival | The Financial Express

Onam 2022 History and Significance: From religious stories to traditional nine-course feast; everything about the Malayali festival

Onam 2022 History and Significance: The festival is celebrated to honor the popular and loving demon King Mahabali, who is believed to have returned to the state during this period.

Onam 2022 History and Significance: From religious stories to traditional nine-course feast; everything about the Malayali festival
This year, the festivities leading up to Onam began on August 22 and end on the 31st.

Onam 2022 Festival and Celebrations in Kerala: The harvest festival of Onam, which falls in August and September each year, is celebrated in various parts of India and the world. It is regarded as the main festival of Kerala. According to the local calendar of Chingam, the festival occurs on the 22nd of Nakshatra Thiruvonam. This festival marks the beginning of the Malayalam new year, called Kolla Varsham.

The festival begins on the first day of the month, which is known as Atham. It ends on the tenth day, which is referred to as Thiruvonam, which is regarded as the most significant day of the festival. This year, the festivities leading up to Onam begin on August 22 and end on the 31st.

The Onam festival is celebrated to honor the popular and loving demon King Mahabali, who is believed to have returned to the state during this period.

Why is Onam celebrated in Kerala?

According to the mythology of the Vaishnavas, King Mahabali defeated the gods and started ruling over all three worlds. He was a demon king who was popular with the people. The Gods feared that King Mahabali would become too popular and therefore, asked Lord Vishnu to help contain him.

Lord Vishnu hearing the gods request visited King Mahabali in his Brahmin dwarf avatar named Vamana. When Mahabali asked him what he wanted for, he said, “three pieces of land.” On being granted his wish by the demon king, Vamana grew in size and covered both the sky and the netherworld. As he was about to take this third grant, Mahabali offered him his head. Vishbu was touched by the gesture and granted him the right to visit his kingdom and people every year during Onam.

Hence Onam is observed every year to celebrate the home-coming of the demon kind Mahabali.

How is Onam celebrated

Onam rituals start ten days before the actual day. People bathe in the river and offer prayers. The women of the household also wear a white and gold saree known as Kasavu and decorate their hair with white flower garlands. They participate in various dance performances, decorate the homes with rangolis called pookkalam and cook traditional feasts called sadya. Sadya is served on banana leaves during Onam.

Onam’s nine-course meal (sadya) consists of 26 different dishes. Some of these include Olan, which is a white gourd cooked in coconut curry, Kalan, which is a sweet potato and yam dish, Kootu curry, which is a dish made from chickpeas, and rasam, which is a soup-like dish. A dessert known as Parippu payasam is also a part of the meal.

During the 10-day period, various activities are carried out. Some of these include snake boat races. Local dance and martial arts are performed like Kummattikali, Onathallu.

Due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, people were advised to celebrate Onam in their homes. Instead of using traditional flowers, they were asked to use locally available ones.

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