Onam is the biggest and the most important festival of the state of Kerala. It is celebrated as a harvest festival and is celebrated with joy and enthusiasm all over the state by people of all communities. The best part of the festival is thae it is a secular festival so people from different communities and religion can take part in it. According to a popular legend, the festival is celebrated to welcome King Mahabali, whose spirit is said to visit Kerala at the time of Onam. Onam is celebrated in the beginning of the month of Chingam, the first month of Malayalam Calendar (Kollavarsham). This corresponds with the month of August-September according to Gregorian calendar. It is a ten day festival. The first day is called Atham and tenth day, Thiruonam are most important of all. Popularity and presentation of rich culture of the state during the carnival made Onam the National Festival of Kerala in 1961. Elaborate feasts, folk songs, elegant dances, energetic games, elephants, boats and flowers all are a part of the dynamic festival called Onam.
The festival portrays the rich cultural heritage therefore it signifies
the rich heritage of India. Rich cultural heritage of Kerala comes out
in its best form and spirit during the ten day long festival. It is
indeed a treat to be a part of the grand carnival. People of Kerala make
elaborate preparations to celebrate it in the best possible manner. The
most impressive part of Onam celebration is the grand feast called
Onasadya, prepared on Thiruonam. It is a nine course meal consisting of
11 to 13 essential dishes. Onasadya is served on banana leaves and
people sit on a mat laid on the floor to have the meal. It showcase the
unity among people. Another enchanting feature of Onam is Vallamkali,
the Snake Boat Race, held on the river Pampa. It is a colourful sight to
watch the decorated boat oared by hundreds of boatmen amidst chanting of
songs and cheering by spectators.There is also a tradition to play
games, collectively called Onakalikal, on Onam. Folk performances like
Kummatti kali and Pulikali add to the zest of celebrations. If we try to
find out the meaning and significance behind its celebration we will see
that according to legends it is this visit of Mahabali that is
celebrated as Onam every year. People make all efforts to celebrate the
festival in a grand way and impress upon their dear King that they are
happy and wish him well.
Here are some important significance behind Onam celbration.