Onam is the state festival of Kerala which is celebrated by one and all . It is celebrated by Malayalis irrespective of their location.
There is no religious difference for celebrating Onam and it is celebrated with a special feel by Keralites living all over the world.
Onam is a harvest festival. Onam celebrations in the past were very much related to agriculture. Harvest marks the season of prosperity and abundance.
It is a 10 days celebration, of this four days, are important.
Onam myth is very well known and it is related to Asura King Mahabali who started to attract the attention of Devas . His good rule was based on welfare and they began to feel jealous of him as they were worried of a place in earth becoming better than heaven, they prayed to Mahavishnu to get rid off Mahabali , and that wish was granted by Mahavishnu. He took the avatar of a dwarf Brahman - Vamana, and he asked grant of three feet of land to Mahabali. Mahabali granted land with pleasure to Vamanan. With first two steps , Vaamanan who grew up in size measured land and heaven and when he couldn't find a place for his third step, Mahabali advised him to place it on his head. Impressed by Mahabali’s generosity Vamanan offered Mahabali the kingdom of Patala( underworld). He accepted that with pleasure, on one condition of allowing him to visit his beloved people once a year. Onam is the festival of welcoming the ancient ruler Mahabali.
Features of Onam Celebration
Attapookalam : Pattern on the floor made of different types of flowers is called Attapookalam. There are several patterns and colours. It is considered as the symbol of welcoming Mahabali
Onam Sadhya: Onam signifies get together of family and friends. It is also the time for delicious cuisine. Onam Sadhya is special for the rich vegetarian cuisine. 26 different types of food items are served on a plantain leaf.
The speciality of Onam is the ambience of freshness it creates. New clothes are bought. Onam is a big shopping fest also. Usually, traditional dresses are worn. The traditional Kasavu saree and Mundu give a rich touch to the celebration.
A celebration won't be complete without music and dance. It is the main element that enriches the festival and brings it to full bloom. Girls and ladies form a circle and they dance maintaining the pattern
There are many playful games related to Onam. Many fun filled games a like kayyamkali, Ambeyyal and Attakalli are played with joy and cheers in this season .