India is a diverse country with over 50 festivals and Onam is one of them. Onam is a harvesting festival that is celebrated across Kerala, India. It is the most famous and biggest festival of Kerala which symbolizes the annual homecoming of demon king Mahabali. Onam is celebrated for ten days among the Malayalis with great enthusiasm. This year, Onam 2022 will be celebrated from 30th August 2022 and will end on 8th September 2022. According to the Malayalam calendar, Onam is celebrated on the day of Thiruvonam nakshatram in the month of Chingam.
Onam 2022: History
King Mahabali was a great ruler of Kerala according to Hindu Mythology. The king was known for his generosity and peaceful behavior. The eneny of demons, Devats, sent Lord Vishnu to end the rule of King Mahabali on earth. Lord Vishnu appeared as Vamana Avatar and met the kind Mahabali. Lord Vishnu measured the whole world in two steps and asked Mahabali for a place to put his third step. The kind Mahabali requested Vamana to place his foot on his head.
Lord Vishnu was impressed and pleased by Mahabali and ordered him to rule till the end of Kali Yuga (Kalyug). Lord Vishnu also blessed Mahabali with a boon that he would be able to visit his kingdom once a year. From that day, the people of his kingdom which is now Kerala, celebrate the Onam festival as the day of the homecoming of their Kind Mahabali.
Onam 2022: Significance
Onam is celebrated at the beginning of Chingam month according to the Malayalam calendar. It is a harvest festival as it is the time of year when the people of Kerala gather for a good harvest. Onam is one the most important festivals for the people of Kerala and they celebrate it for ten days. Various cultural activities and festivities are held during Onam.
Onam 2022: Rituals
Onam is a rice harvest festival and it is celebrated for 10 days all these 10 days have their significance.
- People wake up early in the morning and wear new clothes. They worship the Thrikkakara appan or Vaman Vishnu Idols.
- Women make different “Pookkalam”, or floral designs on the east side ground of their homes. They also light lamps and sing traditional Onam songs (Onappattukal) to welcome king Mahabali.
- A swinging ceremony is performed on Thiru Onam, in which a swing is slung on the high branch of a tree.
- On the third day, people invite their relatives and friends to gather and celebrate “Onam Sadya”. They cook 13 dishes including rice, vegetable curry, curd, and payasam, and serve it on banana leaves.
- The most famous “Vallamkali” or Snake Boat Race is organized. In Alappuzha, hundreds of large boats are decorated and at least seven drums participate in the race.
- On the ninth day of Onam, the families give vegetables and coconut oil as gifts to the eldest members of the family which is called “Karanavar”.
- On the tenth day of Onam which is the last of the Onam celebration, various cultural activities and festivals are held in temples and religious places.