Onam 2017: Date, historical past, significance and celebrations of the Kerala harvest competition


Onam is the largest competition for Malayalis, and is well known with a lot fanfare all by means of Kerala. Noticed throughout the month of Chingam, the primary month of the Malayalam photo voltaic calendar, Kollavarsham, it’s celebrated over 10 days. The competition commences on the day generally known as Atham and culminates on the tenth day, generally known as Thiru Onam or Thiruvonam, which means “Sacred Onam Day”. This yr the festivities will start on August 25 and proceed until September 4. Nonetheless, a number of customary celebrations proceed for 2 extra days with snake boat races, Pulikkali tiger play and different cultural occasions.

Curiously, Onam is well known to welcome and honour a demon king. In keeping with common legend, it’s stated that on Thiruvonam, the spirit of the demon (asura) King Mahabali visits Kerala and the competition is a preparation to welcome him. Regardless of being a demon, Mahabali was recognized to be beneficiant and sort, and his reign is thought to be the golden period in Kerala, which is why his ‘return’ is so broadly celebrated.

Legend behind the competition

In keeping with Vaishnava mythology, it’s stated that Mahabali got here to energy by defeating the gods and taking up the three worlds. Gods had been sad by his recognition and requested for Lord Vishnu’s assist in a battle towards the demon king. Vishnu agreed to assist however didn’t need to take part in a battle as Mahabali was his ardent devotee. As an alternative, to assist different gods, he took the type of a poor dwarf Brahmin (his Vamana avatar from the Dasavatara) and visited Mahabali, asking the king to grant him three needs. Arguing that one should not ask greater than what one wants, the Brahmin requested the property proper over a bit of land that measures “three paces”, to which Mahabali agreed little figuring out that he was coping with a god.

onam, onam date, onam 2017, onam history, onam significance, onam legend, onam celebrations, kerala onam, onam rituals, onam history, onam king mahabali, indian express A view of the ‘Atham’ procession taken out at Thrippunithura in Kochi on Friday. Atham marks the start of Onam competition in Kerala. (Supply: PTI)

Quickly, the dwarf grew in measurement and with lined all the pieces Mahabali dominated over in simply two steps. For the third step, Mahabali provided his head, which Vishnu agreed to and positioned his foot over the king’s head, thus, casting him into the nether world. However impressed by Mahabali’s devotion and good deeds, Vishnu allowed him to return to earth yearly — it’s this annual go to that’s celebrated with a lot fanfare as Onam.

To welcome the ‘golden ruler’, folks make ‘flower mats’ generally known as Pookalam (like a flower rangoli) of their courtyards, and in addition put together a grand meal known as the Onasadya. Celebrations additionally embrace conventional dance, music and video games which can be collectively known as Onakalikal. All that is performed to point out King Mahabali that his individuals are affluent and pleased.

A nine-course meal known as the Onasadya is served on Onam. (Supply: Thinkstock Photographs)

One of many major points of interest of the competition is the grand feast generally known as Onasadya, which is a nine-course meal consisting of 10-13 dishes, together with rice, sambar, avial, rasam, payasam (candy dish). It’s served on Thiruonam — the day of the primary festivities.

On the Thrikkakara temple in Kochi, devoted to the Vamana, the celebration begins with a flag hoisting after which continues with dances and performances. The idol of Lord Vamana is dressed and embellished, after which taken on a procession.

Pulikkali is the ‘play of the tigers’ and the efficiency revolve across the theme of tiger looking is a giant attraction of the Onam. (Sourece: PTI)

Onam timings and rituals

Individuals start the day with an early tub, adopted by prayers, after which go on to create Pookalams. New garments are worn, and households collect to get pleasure from an elaborate vegetarian feast.

In keeping with Drikpanchang.com, Thiruvonam – which is the final and most essential day of Onam celebrations – will likely be celebrated this yr on September 4.

Thiruvonam Nakshathram begins at 9:37am on September 3, 2017
Thiruvonam Nakshathram ends at 11:18am on September 4, 2017



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