Onam History : King Mahabali was the biggest devotee of Lord Vishnu even though he was an asura. Mahabali earned a lot of respect during his rule in Kerala. He was kind hearted and an extremely generous man During his rule, there was no poverty in Kerala, the lands flourished, the coffers filled with gold and people never locked their houses since there were no theives. Crime, corruption, caste discrimination was zero during his reign.
Mahabali was the son of Virochana. He learnt vedas from his grandfather Prahlada and later on by the great master Shukracharya. Through Shukracharya's fine teachings, Mahabali defeated Indra, and took over the heavens. Soon he was going to perform 99 Aswamedha yyagna and become the ruler of the three worlds. Lord Indra was not happy about this and looking at a sad son, Aditi requested for a boon from Lord Vishnu. She requested for Lord Vishnu to be reborn as Vamana(dwarf) and stop Mahabali from taking over the reigns of the three worlds. Aditi's wish was granted. The Vamanan had three wishes from Mahabali, he wanted " I want 3 steps of land, measured by my feet". Vamanan grew very large, he took one step and covered the entire earth, the second step covered the heavens and the third step he kep on Mahabali's head. After which Mahabali was pushed to the Patala.
It's believed that every year King Mahabali visits Kerala on Thiru Onam day to see how his people are faring. 2019 Thiru Onam will be celebrated on 11th September.
Boat races is one of the fun factors of Onam. It's a canoe boat race, foot tapping drum beats and synchronised rowing. It is known as Vallam Kali in Kerala. The Aranmula boat race is one of the oldest races in Kerala. It's held in the Pathanamthitta in Kerala. Only men take part in this race and they wear only a turban and white loin cloth. The lead singers will start the song and the oarsmen repeat the song while moving their oars in synch. The snake canoe races is one of the highights of Onam celebrations and many people throng the shores to witness the spectacular boat race.Kerala boat race by nostalgicmoments Kerala boat race by amjathsiyad Kerala boat race onam by vivekrajputphotography
Onam is a 10 day long festival. The festival starts with womenfolk decorating the entrance of their houses with colourful flower Rangoli designs. The pookalams are usually round and resemble a mandala. Various pookalam competitions are held across the state and the exemplary ones are awarded with cash or gifts.
Athapookalam competition winner Onam pookalam art award winningPookalam design art
The Sadhya(feast) is one of the most important part of the festivitites. Malayalee chefs across the world show off their culinary skills by cooking up numerous traditional dishes for this special occasion. At homes, based on budget preferences, you can see more than 30 plus dishes which will be spread on a banana leaf. Some of the prominent food items which finds it's place during the feast are Upperi(Banana chips), Sharakara Varatti(jaggery coated banana chips), Manga curry(mango pickle), Naranga curry(lime pickle), Ellisheri(curry dish with pumpkins, coconut and red beans), pulissery(vegetable curry in curd), Kaalan(yogaurt, yam, grated coconut curry), Olan(ash gourd curry with red beans, cocounut milk), Pachadi(yoghurt curry with ineapple or bitter-gourd), Chenai Mezhukkupuratti(thin yam slices boiled and fried in coconut oil), Pulvini(Sweet sour tamarind paste), Parruppu cuury(yellow lentils dal), chor( traditional red rice), Sambhar, Pappadam,Avial (mixed vegeatbles boiled and coated with coconut), Kichadi(spicy yoghurt mixed in your favorite choice of cooked vegeatble), rasasam, Kotok Curry(dry curry made with raw banana and black channa), ghee, thoran(any cooked and garnished vegetable), Palada Pradhaman( sweet desert made with coconut milk and rice flakes), Pazham prradhaman(sweet desert made with ripe bananas, coconut milk and jaggery). Onam Sadhya is not completed without it's Pradhamans(kheer), people have become very innovate with these parahumans and you can see weird combos of payasams cropping up during the feasts.