Kerala Festivals - Onam

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Kerala festivals - Onam
 
 
Onam is a time for sports and festivities in Kerala where one third of the area is low lying, covered with canals, lakes and backwaters. The people comes out with their boats and country crafts to celebrate. It is one of the greatest festivals of Kerala, which is celebrated unitedly without the difference of caste and religion.

Onam is related with King Mahabali, a past ruler of Kerala, who was very nice and trueful. During his ruling it is said that people did not even lock their house because, there were no thieves, no corruption, no betrayal. Everything was going good. At that time the Hindu Lord Mahavishnu decided to test King Mahabali. He came to earth as vamana, a poor dwarf and went straight to King Mahabali, asking three feet of land to live as he had nothing. The king hearing this laughed and told Vamana to take three feet of land from where ever he wishes. Suddenly Vamana began to grow and he covered the whole earth by one foot and covered the sky with other foot and then asked Mahabali " Where is the space for the third foot?". By seeing all these, the king understood that Vamana was not an ordinary person and has come to test him. So the king without hesitation showed his head to keep the third foot. Vamana kept his third foot on the King's head and the King was pushed down under the earth. The king after going under the earth, asked Vamana his true identity, Suddenly Vamana vanished and Lord Mahavishnu stood before Mahabali. The Lord told Mahabali that he wanted to test Mahabali and he has won in that. The Lord also asked Mahabali to ask any boon for himself. Mahabali told the lord that, he loved his people very much so he wanted permission to visit Kerala once in a year. And the lord gave permission for that. It is that day , the day Mahabali visits Kerala is celebrated as Onam.

Onam is celebrated when it's time to reap the harvest and is a celebration of ten days. People put flower mats in front of their houses, to welcome the King. Keralites all over the world celebrate this ten days with pomp and gaiety. They wear new dresses and visit almost all temples which they possibly can.