The best thing about being an Indian is you never run out of things to celebrate in this country. Just last week, we came together for Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations and now, it’s time for Onam. Whether you’re a Malayalee or not, you can always be a part of the celebrations as that is the main purpose of festivals, to get people together for having fun. Onam is a festival mostly celebrated in Kerala, but because of the diversity of our country, it is celebrated everyday. Today would be a good time to show up at your Mallu friend’s house if you want to get with the celebrations. But it might be a good idea to brush up your knowledge about the festival first. Here’s everything you need to know about Onam –
In Mythology, King Mahabali, a legendary ruler of Kerala made the Gods envious with his growing popularity. Lord Vishnu was given the task of containing the King’s popularity. Visiting as a Vamana, his fifth avatar, he asked for land that he could cover in three steps. When King Mahabali agreed, Lord Vishnu turned into an enormous being covering the whole world, and in just two steps he covered the whole world. For his third step, King Mahabali offered himself. Impressed by this sacrifice, Lord Vishnu granted him a boon where he could visit his people every year. Onam is regarded as the time of the year where King Mahabali comes to visit his people. The festival marks the celebration of welcoming the generous king.
Onam celebrations are grand in every nature. It is a ten day carnival in Kerala and if you really want to enjoy the festival, you should be in Kerala at this time. There’s decorations everywhere with cultural programs, dance events, designs, feasts, boat competitions, music and everything fun. Among popular boat races is the snake boat race where oarsmen row snake-shaped boats with people traveling huge distances to cheer them. This race is usually held on Pampa river. Every festival includes shopping, just like Onam where you’ll see everyone flood the markets and street shops.
No celebration in India is complete without food. And when it’s a festival, a grand feast is must. Onam is no exception to this rule. You have a variety of delicacies to choose from, or just eat them all if you love food more than anything. Onam special dishes like Pappadam, Injipuli, Thoran, Kaalan, Olan, Sambhar, Rasam, Puliseri, Pachadi, Kichadi among many other dishes that are exclusive to the festival. Every feast must end in something sweet, and what’s better than Payasam? If you have a Mallu friend, ask them to prepare some of these dishes and get together to celebrate the festival.
Now that you know, call up your Mallu friend and feast on good food and happy times.