Malayalees celebrate Onam

Malayalees celebrate Onam

Keralites today celebrated the harvest festival of Onam with traditional gaiety and enthusiasm, commemorating a mythical past of peace, prosperity and equality.

In houses, floral carpets were laid to welcome mythical demon King Mahabali, who is believed to visit his subjects on 'Thiruvonam' day of the Malayalam month of Chingam (first month of the Malayalam calendar).

According to legend, King Mahabali once ruled a land of plenty, where his subjects were happy. But the Gods grew jealous of him and got him banished to the netherworld by Lord Vishnu in his reincarnation as 'Vamana' (dwarf).' The Lord, however, gave the King permission to visit his subjects once a year on Thiruvonam day.

People wearing new clothes thronged temples in the morning. The important part of the celebration is a grand feast on plantain leaves at noon in all homes.

The week-long Onam celebrations, being organised by the state tourism department began yesterday. A series of cultural programmes are slated to be held during the week, culminating with a procession on September 3. 

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