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Onam / Vamana Jayanti Mahotsav
September 10 - September 13
Onam festival is celebrated mainly in Kerala. They start the celebrations 10 days before the actual day of Onam. Onamis an annual festival with origins in the state of Kerala. It falls in the month of Chingam. Onam harvest festival is marked with a special feast lunch on last day and includes rice and a sweet at the end.
Who is Bali Chakravarti and why is Onam / Vaman Jayanti lid celebrated on his name.
Bali chakravarti is one of the greatest kings. Even though he was a Raksha he never deviated from the path of Dharma. He was a great devotee
Vishnu in the form of Vamana moorti went to Bali chakravarthi directly, when he was doing the Ashwamedha Yaaga. On seeing the handsome face of Vamana in the Yaaga, Bali Chakravarthy came to Vamana and did fell at his feet and prayed him to take some “daanam” from him. Finally Vaamana demanded just three steps of land. Vishnu.
Soon, the short Vamana grew in size – so huge that it was impossible to describe in words – and this form is called as Trivikrama roopam. With his first step, Vamana covered all of Earth. His second step covered all of the Sky. There was no place for the third step. It was then Bali thought and realized that Vamana was none other than Sri Vishnu himself and King Bali offered his head as the place for Vaamana’s third foot step. Vamana kept his third step on Bali’s head and sent Bali to Patalam. Bali was also given the boon that he will be allowed to rule the entire universe for one day in a year and on that day he can visit the earth, which is the Balipadyami day – the Kaarthika Shudda Padya.
On Atham star — is when mythical King Mahabali is believed to have started preparing to come back and visit his kingdom. People Start the day with an early bath, followed by prayers, and the creation of floral arrangements (pookalam)on the ground in front of homes to welcome him. A grand procession, Athachamyam, marks the start of Onam celebrations near Kochi.
On Chithira Star two more layers are added to the pookalams, using mostly orange and creamy yellow flowers. People also visit temples to seek blessings.
On Chodhi Star is all fun-filled day that marks the start of shopping for the Onam. People begin buying new clothes, jewelry, and gifts.
On Vishakham Star housewives visit the grocery stores to stock up on ingredients to make the elaborate Onam meal. Markets traditionally used to hold their harvest sale on this day, making it a popular day for shopping. Pookalam design competitions also commence across Kerala on his day.
On Anizham Star they have snake boat races kick-off across the state. A mock race is held at Aranmula as a rehearsal for the race that’s held there after the main day of Onam.
On Thriketa Star people start visiting their families and fresh flowers continue to be added to pookalams.
On Moolam Star the state is beautifully decorated.
On Pooradam Star the day starts with the ritual installation of pyramid-style clay statues, known as Onathappan, in the center of pookalams. These represent king Mahabali and Lord Vamana, who sent Mahabali to the underworld but allowed him to visit his kingdom once a year during Onam). By now, the pookalams have greatly grown in size and complexity of design.
On the First Onam/Uthradom Star King Mahabali is believed to arrive in Kerala on this day. People rush to complete their Onam shopping and the cleaning of their homes. It’s considered to be an auspicious day for buying fresh fruit and vegetables.
On the Second Onam/Thiruvonam Star is the day the main Onam celebrations occur when King Mahabali is said to visit people’s homes. Homes are spic and span, finished pookalams are elaborate, new clothes are worn, and families gather to enjoy an elaborate vegetarian feast known as the Onam Sadya.
On the third Onam/Avvittom Star all the preparations are undertaken for King Mahabali’s departure. Onathappan statues are immersed in the sea or river, and pookalams are cleared and removed.
On the Fourth Onam/Chatayam Star post-Onam celebrations will be continued for the next couple of days with snake boat races.
Onam Sadya is the traditional nine or more course vegetarian meal is served on banana leaf.
Onam (feast) is another very indispensable part of Thiruvonam, and almost every Keralite attempts to either make or attend one. The Onasadya reflects the spirit of the season and is traditionally made with seasonal vegetables including Chips (especially Sharkaraveratti (Fried pieces of banana coated with jaggery), , various vegetable and soups such as (its sweet variant), Moru (Curd with water), Pickles buttermilk, coconut chutney. The feast ends with a series of desserts.