Happy Onam 2017: Malayalis celebrate the harvest festival across Indiahttps://indianexpress.com/photos/lifestyle-gallery/onam-2017-photos-celebrating-the-harvest-festival-of-kerala-4826450/

Happy Onam 2017: Malayalis celebrate the harvest festival across India

Onam is the biggest festival for Malayalis, and is celebrated with much fanfare not only across through Kerala, but Malayalis around the world. Festivities include musical and dance performances, not to forget the traditional Onam sadhya.

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Onam is celebrated with much fanfare not only in Kerala but by Malayalis across the world. The 10-day festival concludes with Thiruvonam, which - according to folklore - is said to be the day when the beloved demon king Mahabali visits earth. From a nine-course feast called Onasadya to festivities called Onakalikal, Onam is the most important annual festival for Malayalis.

In pic, Panvel railway station with a large flower carpet also known as 'pookalam' to celebrate Onam in Navi Mumbai. (Source: Express Photo By Narendra Vaskar)

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Onam being celebrated at a mall in Navi Mumbai on Sunday. (Source: PTI)

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Pookalam being prepared at the courtyard of a house on the eve of Thiruvonam in Thiruvanathapuram.

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Beautiful 'pookalam' at Seawoods Grand Central mall in Nerul. (Source: Express Photo By Narendra Vaskar)

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Keralites celebrating with 'pookalam' on the occasion of Thiru Onam in Chikmagalur, Karnataka, on Monday. (Source: PTI)

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Devotees light up candles on the festival of Onam at a temple in Chennai on Monday. (Source: PTI)

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Women create a Pookalam to celebrate Onam festival in Coimbatore. (Source: PTI)

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Girls enjoy on a swing during celebration of Onam festival in Chennai. (Source: PTI)

Malayalis make a 'Pookalam' on the theme of 'Make in India', for the harvest festival, Onam, in Bhopal. (Source: PTI)

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Calcutta Malayalee samajam organised a programme on the eve of Thiruvonam during Onam festival. (Source: Express photo by Partha Paul)

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A dancer waits to perform during festivities marking the start of the annual harvest festival of Onam in Kochi. (Source: Reuters)

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Games and plays are big part of the celebrations. Here, students participate in a tug of war competition during Onam celebrations at a school in Kozhikode. (Source: PTI)

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Performers painted to look like tigers dance during festivities marking the start of the annual harvest festival of Onam in Kochi. (Source: Reuters)

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Pulikkali is the ‘play of the tigers’ that revolve around the theme of tiger hunting, is a big attraction of the Onam. (Sourece: PTI)

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A performer has his body painted to look like a lion before he takes part in Onam festivities. (Source: Reuters)

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At the Thrikkakara temple in Kochi, dedicated to the Vamana, the celebration begins with a flag hoisting and then continues with dances and performances. The idol of Lord Vamana is dressed and decorated, and then taken on a procession. (Source: PTI)

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New clothes are worn, and families gather to enjoy an elaborate vegetarian feast.

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Celebrations also include traditional dance, music and games that are collectively called Onakalikal. All this is done to show King Mahabali that his people are prosperous and happy. (Source: Express photo by Partha Paul)

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People begin the day with an early bath, followed by prayers, and then go on to create Pookalams.

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Despite being a demon, Mahabali was known to be generous and kind, and his reign is regarded as the golden era in Kerala, which is why his ‘return’ is so widely celebrated.

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Interestingly, Onam is celebrated to welcome and honour a demon king. According to popular legend, it is said that on Thiruvonam, the spirit of the demon (asura) King Mahabali visits Kerala and the festival is a preparation to welcome him.

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Observed during the month of Chingam, the first month of the Malayalam solar calendar, Kollavarsham, it is celebrated over 10 days. The festival commences on the day known as Atham and culminates on the 10th day, known as Thiru Onam or Thiruvonam, meaning “Sacred Onam Day”.