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Onam Puja Vidhi and Onam Puja Katha - Know Story Behind Onam Celebration

ONAM IN KERALA: OF BOAT RACES, FEAST, FOLK CULTURE GAMES AND PROCESSIONS

Place of Merriment: Kerala
Onam Puja Vidhi and Onam Puja Katha

Onam Festival

For tourists around the globe, Kerala is the tourist destination to beckon with. With nature's bounty and backwaters all round, you will also be fascinated to know the true festive colors of India is being evident in Kerala. One such festival is Onam, where Malayees look forward every year. Onam Festival of Kerala reflects the 'faith' of the people, which is more or less dominant in India. It is the celebration of harvest where the fields look vibrant and pleasant. Onam is a time for homecoming time for people staying far off away from the families.

When is Onam celebrated?

Onam is celebrated in the beginning of Chingam, the first month of the Malayalam calendar. It usually rejoiced during August-September.

Rejoicing the arrival of KING MAHABALI
For Keralites, Onam greets the arrival of the most legendary King Mahabali, affectionately called Onathappan, who ushered the people a golden era in Kerala.

A CULTURAL EXTRAVAGANZA
The rich culture of Kerala is unfolded in its best form and colorful spirits during this colorful festival. The carnival of Onam lasts from four to 10 days. There are elaborate feasts, folk songs, elegant dances, energetic games, elephants, boats, and flowers all are a neighborhood of this dynamic festival.

ONAM FEAST
Womenfolk make special arrangements to welcome Onathappan. A grand feast called 'Onasadya' is prepared with lip-smacking 11-13 best of Kerala cuisine. These include avial, avial, sambhar, rasam, parippu and the payasam. They are served on special banana leaves, where people sit down on a mat for feasting.

ONAM SNAKE BOAT RACES
Another captivating feature of Onam is Vallamkali, the Snake Boat Race, held on the river Pampa. It is a colorful sight to watch the decorated boats called 'chundan vallams' roared by hundreds of boatmen amidst chanting of songs and cheering by spectators.

ONAM GAMES
During the ten day Onam carnival, traditions to play exciting games called 'Onakalikal' are organized. Men enter for rigorous sports like Talappanthukali (played with ball), Ambeyyal (Archery), Kutukutu, and combats called Kayyankali and Attakalam.

Women engaged themselves in cultural activities during this time. They make intricately designed flower mats called 'Pookalam' to welcome King Mahabali. 'Kaikotti kali' and 'Thumbi Thullal' are two graceful dances performed by women during Onam. Besides, there's also a practice of playing on a decorated swing hung from a high branch. Onappaattu - Onam Songs, also are sung on the occasion.

ONAM PROCESSIONS
There are several colorful grand processions and boat races organized during this festival.

ATHACHAMAYAM
Athachamayam, a grand procession, marks the beginning of the grand Onam carnival. Celebrated with a lot of fan-fair at Thirpunithura and Piravam. The highlighting features of this procession are performances by folk artistes, caparisoned elephants, musical ensembles, and dance shows by skilled artsites.

PROCESSION OF DECKED ELEPHANTS
Trichur, the capital of Kerala, marks the festival in beautiful style. Here, a procession of decorated elephants in carried out on the streets. It's a resplendent site to watch the bejeweled elephants walking on the streets in their full majesty and grandeur.

KADUVAKALI PERFORMANCE
This is the most entertaining custom of Onam. In this performers take the guise of tigers. They paint their bodies yellow with patterns of black and red. Scenes of tiger hunting goats and tigers being hunted by humans are beautifully depicted.

Onam Puja Vidhi : Method of Worship

  • The main joy of the Onam festival lives in the Thrikkara temple in Kochi. A special event is held in this temple on the festival of Onam, which is visited by people from abroad. A grand event is held throughout the ten days in this temple, singing, puja aarti, fair, shopping are the specialties here. 
  • There are also various types of competitions in this place, in which people participate very well.
  • In the ten day festival of Onam, the first day is Anthan, from which the preparations for Onam start all around. For Onam, the cleaning of the house starts, the markets are mainly decorated. The atmosphere of the festival becomes all around.
  • Pokkalam flower carpet is specially prepared in Onam. It is prepared with many types of flowers. It is prepared from Anthan to Thiruvonam day. Pookkalam making competitions are also organized during Onam. A special cell is set up for farmers in the market, along with this, markets of clothes, ornaments are also installed.
  • A special cell is set up for farmers in the market, along with this, markets of clothes, ornaments are also installed. The Snake boat race, which is called Vallamkali, prepares for loud noises. This race is organized after Onam. The race of this boat is organized only in this part of India, which is famous all over the world.
  • Onam is also a holiday during the festival, due to which people go to their hometown, to celebrate this festival with their people.
  • On the eighth day, which is called Pooradam, the idols of Mahabali and Vamana are cleaned, decorated well, and revered in the house and temple.
  • On the last tenth day, Thiruvonam is decorated with rice solutions outside the house, people quickly get ready for a bath. The house is well decorated with lights.
  • On the last tenth day, Thiruvonam is decorated with rice solution outside the house, people quickly get ready after bathing. The house is well decorated with lights.
  • In the Onam festival, buying and wearing new clothes has special significance. This is called Onakkodi.
  • Just like Mahabali was Danveer, therefore, charity has special significance in this festival. People donate various kinds of things to the poor and the benevolent.
  • The dishes prepared on the last day of Onam are called Onam Sadya. In this, 26 types of dishes are made, which are served on banana leaves. During Onam, folk dance of Kerala can also be seen there, its organizing is also important there. Thiruvatirakali, kummattikali, kathakali, puli kali etc. are special events.
  • Although the Onam festival ends on the tenth day, but some people celebrate it for two more days. Which is called the third and fourth Onam. During this, the idols of Vamana and Mahabali are immersed in the holy river. Pokkalam is also removed on this day and cleaned.

Onam Festival Katha: Story of Onam

Mahabali was the grandson of Prahlad. Prahlada who was the son of Asura Hiranyakashyap, but still he was a devotee of Vishnu. Like his grandfather, Mahabali was a Vishnu devotee since childhood. With time, Mahabali grew and his empire grew. He was a very good, mighty, just, fair-minded, good-thinking person. Even after being a demon, Mahabali used to rule the earth and heaven.

Their subjects on earth used to be very happy with them. They used to give equal status to their king. Along with this, pride in Mahabali also started coming somewhere. Seeing the rising power in the universe, the other deities were terrified, they sought Vishnu's help for this. Vishnu ji agrees to this.
To teach Vishnu Ji a lesson to Mahabali, he is born as 'Vamana' as the son of Mother Aditi to help all the Gods and Goddesses. He is the fifth incarnation of Vishnu.

Once to save his most powerful weapon from Mahabali Indra, perform Ashwameva Yajna on the banks of river Narmada. After the success of this yajna, asura power would become more powerful in all the three worlds.

Mahabali speaks, during this yagna, whatever is asked of him will be given to him. On hearing this, Vamana comes to this Yagya Shala.Being the son of a Brahmin, Mahabali brings him inside with all due respect. Mahabali speaks to Vaman about how he can serve them, what can he give them as a gift. Vaman smiles and says, I don't want much, just give me 3 feet of land.

Hearing this, the Guru of Mahabali understands that this is not an ordinary child, he tells Mahabali not to fulfill his wish. But Mahabali was a good king, he was firm in his words, he said yes to Vamana. Mahabali speaks to Vamana to take the land as he wishes. On hearing this, Vamana comes in his huge form. In their first step, the whole earth merges.

In their second step, heaven comes. Now the king has nothing for his third step, so to fulfill his promise, the king puts his head under the feet of Vamana. As soon as this is done, the king enters the earth in hell. Before going to Patalalok, Mahabali is asked a wish. Mahabali asks Vishnu that every year the festival of Onam should be celebrated in the earth in his memory, and he should be allowed to come to this day, so that he can come here to meet his subjects and know their happiness and sorrow.

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