How Onam is celebrated in India

India is a country which is an amalgamation of a lot of castes and cultures. All of them have their own sets of festivals and celebrations which are done with a lot of glamour.

Among all the festivals Onam is one. This is mostly celebrated in the state of Kerala and is one of the biggest festivals celebrated here. India is basically a country which is dependent on agriculture and Onam is a harvest festival which is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm and joy. Many local people believe that this festival is celebrated to welcome King Mahabali, the popular legend whose spirit is believed to visit on this day in Kerala. This celebration is mainly done in the beginning of the month of Chingam. Chingam is the first month according to the Malayalam calendar which is actually the months of August and September according to the Georgian calendar.

This is not a one day festival and the celebration continues for at least 4 to 10 days. The first day of the festival is known as Atham and the tenth or the last day of the festival is called as the Thiruonam. This last day is considered to be the most important. The rich culture of the state becomes prominent in these ten days as a carnival is seen in this time. Onam is said to be the National Festival of Kerala and it is celebrated with this extravagance since 1961. There are elaborate feasts, elegant dances, folk songs, boats and flowers all over the state on these days during the festival. The major attraction of this festival is its vibrancy and a lot of colours. In fact the government of India takes a lot of initiative to promote this festival in an international way. This is actually a tourist week for Kerala state all because of this celebration.

There is a story behind the celebrations of Onam. It is believed that during the rule of King Mahabali (the mighty demon) everyone was very happy and the kingdom was very prosperous. But the king was very egoistic and so the God’s took the opportunity of his weakness to take him down and as a result his reign was brought to an end. But as the king was very good at heart, the Gods granted him a wish. They gave him a boon that he can come and visit the people he loved dearly annually. That is why; at present the Onam is celebrated as the annual visit of the King Mahabali’s soul.

The rich cultural heritage of Kerala can be seen during this festival and it is celebrated for good ten days. In fact, it is a grand carnival that goes on for 10 days. The locals of Kerala make huge preparations throughout the year for the celebrations. There is  also a grand feast arranged in Onam in Bangalore and it is called Onasadya which is organised on the tenth day of the festival. Here the food is served on the banana leaves and people sit on the floor in rows to have the food.

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