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Onam: A day of celebration for Malayalees

Afternoon Voice 2019-09-11 15:51:28

Onam, the festival of Malayalee community was being celebrated on September 11, 2019 in a colourful way. The colourful and picture festival represents the spirit of the Malayalees in India in general and all over the world in particular. The people of Kerala believe that on the Thiruonal day King Mahabali visits his subjects and hence the day is marked by Onasadhya in traditional Kerala style.

Thirty one types of dishes were served in plantain leaves to the members. The menu includes Tairu Pachchadi, Inchi Kari, Achar Naranga, Achar Manga, Dal, Nei, inchi pulli, moru, Kondattam, Molaku, Ishtu, Elisseri, Chakara upperi, Varuta Kaya upperi, Pazham, Uppu, Nadan, Choru, Cheriya Choru, Mathan Puli pachchadi, Kootu Kari, Kalan, Olan, Aviyal, Thoran, mix thoran, Sambhar, Rasam, giant size Papadam and small one as well.

The festival marks the home coming of legendary King Mahabali.  He is also popularly called Maveli and Onathappan.  Mahabali is the son of Virochana and grandson of Prahlad, the devout son of demon King Hiranyakashipu.  Mahabali also belonged to the Asura (demon) dynasty but was an ardent worshipper of Lord Vishnu. He was greatly respected and was considered to be wise, judicious and extremely generous.  Everybody was happy and the rich and the poor were treated at par.  There was neither crime, nor corruption prevalent in his kingdom.  It is said that people did not even lock their doors just like Shani Shingnapur as there were no thieves. There was no poverty, sorrow or disease in his kingdom. It is believed that on the Thiruvonam day, Lord Vishnu took his fifth avatar as Vamana and sent him to world.  Onam celebrations are marked in Trikkakarna near Aluva said to be capital of King Mahabali. A temple with a deity of Trikkakara Appan or Vamanamurthy who is Lord Vishnu himself in disguise is also located in this place.

The word Thiruvonam is derived from the Sanskrit word Shravanam. Thiruvonam is one among the 27 Nakshtras (stars). The word Thiru is used to address places and activities associated with Lord Vishnu.  Thiruvonam is also believed to be the star of Vishnu. Onam is celebrated in the first month of Chingam, the first month of Kollarvarsham of the Malayalam Calendar. This corresponds with the months of August and September every year.

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)