Prime Minister Narendra Modi has greeted the people on the auspicious festival of Onam.
- Onam is the most popular festival in the state of Kerala. It is the official state festival of Kerala.
- It is also celebrated as the festival of paddy harvest.
- According to a popular legend, the festival is celebrated to welcome King Mahabali, whose spirit is said to visit Kerala at the time of Onam.
- Onam is a 10 day long festival celebrated in the beginning of the month of Chingam, the first month of the Malayalam Calendar (Kollavarsham). This corresponds with the month of August to September according to the Gregorian Calendar.
- Of the 10 days, the first day, Atham and tenth day, Thiruvonam are most important of all.
How is it celebrated?
- The most impressive part is the grand feast called Onasadya, prepared on Thiruonam. It is a nine-course meal consisting of 11 to 13 essential dishes. Another key feature is Vallamkali, the Snake Boat Race, held on the river Pampa.
- There is also a tradition to play games, collectively called Onakalikal, on Onam. Men go in for rigorous sports like Talappanthukali (played with ball), Ambeyyal (Archery), Kutukutu and combats called Kayyankali and Attakalam.
- Women make intricately designed flower mats called, Pookalam in the front courtyard of house to welcome King Mahabali. Kaikotti kali and Thumbi Thullal are two graceful dances performed by women on Onam.