Updated: August 29, 2020 9:15:16 am
Onam 2020 Date: As the headline suggests, Onam is a harvest festival that is typically celebrated in the state of Kerala, and by the Malayalee community around the world. According to the Malayalam calendar, the festival is celebrated on the 22nd nakshatra Thiruvonam, in the month of ‘Chingam‘ which, as per the Gregorian calendar overlaps with months of August and September. This year, the festival will be celebrated between August 22 and August 31.
It is believed as per Hindu legends that Onam commemorates King Mahabali, who was believed to be the descendant of a Brahmin sage named Kashyapa, the great-grandson of Hiranyakashipu, and the grandson of Prahlada, who was devoted to Lord Vishnu. The scriptures suggest that Onam is the grand annual homecoming of King Mahabali.
Onam celebrations are synonymous with the ‘Vallam Kali‘ (the boat races), ‘Pulikali‘ (the tiger dances), ‘Pookkalam‘ (the flower rangolis), ‘Onathappan‘ (the worship), ‘Onam Kali‘, ‘Thumbi Thullal‘ (women’s dances), ‘Kummattikali‘ (mask dances), ‘Onathallu‘ (martial arts), ‘Onavillu‘ (music), ‘Kazhchakkula‘ (plantain offerings), ‘Onapottan‘ (costumes), and ‘Atthachamayam‘ (folk songs and dances), among others.
The first Onam also known as ‘Uthraadam’, is the Onam eve. Many believe this to be the day when King Mahabali returns to the state of Kerala. On the second day — also referred to as Thiruvonam — it is believed that he pays a visit to people’s houses. Preparations for his departure begin from the third day, and the fourth day is observed as ‘Sri Narayana Guru Jayanthi’. In the consequent days, post-Onam celebrations continue, with the aforementioned cultural programmes.
For the Malayalee community, the main attraction is undoubtedly the traditional Onam sadhya, which is a feast enjoyed by non-Malayalees, too. It is prepared with a few specific ingredients namely some seasonal vegetables, mango and lime pickle, yam chips, tamarind and ginger chutney, rice, coconut essence, pachadi (a blend of coconut, curd, pineapple and chillies), moru (buttermilk), avial (a dish with potatoes, banana, carrots, beans, drumstick and raw mango), rasam (a tangy watery dish) and pappadam. It is served on a banana leaf.
Onam is one of the three major festivals of the state, the other two being Vishu and Thiruvathira.
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