KeralaSouth India

The significance of Onam Festival in Kerala

Onam is a 10-day harvest festival which is the most important festival in South India.

Onam Parade
Onam Parade, Kerala (image source: Wikimedia commons)

The festival of Onam is the biggest festival in the whole of South India celebrating a 10-day long harvesting period. Onam is celebrated at the beginning of the month of ‘Chingam’ which is the first month of the Malayalam Calendar. Onam was celebrated this year on 31st August.

The most important site that is associated with the Onam festival is Vamanamoorthy Temple in Thrikkakara near Kochi. This temple is known to be the place where the festival originated. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vamana who is one of the 10 reincarnations of Lord Vishnu.

According to the legend, King Mahabali was a generous king who then grew in power. As a result, of his growing power, Lord Vamana banished the king to the underworld with his foot. It is believed that this temple is located where the foot fell. King Mahabali asked Lord Vamana to visit Kerala once a year to make sure that his people were happy. People believe that during Onam King Mahabali visits the people and blesses them with prosperity.

During the Onam festival, Atham is celebrated with street parades of elephants, musicians, artists, and various art forms. There are various activities such as flag hoisting and dance performances.

Boat races are one of the most important attractions during the Onam festival. Due to the COVID pandemic, the number of people attending this festival was low. 

The following Youtube video from Kerala Tourism is an official Onam Greeting video. 

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