Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Elephants for Onam procession 2009 at Cochin

Onam, the most popular festival of Kerala, falls in the month of Chingam (August/September), marking the annual visit of the legendary King Mahabali, who once ruled Kerala. Onam is closely linked to Kerala's culture and tradition.

According to the legend, Kerala witnessed its golden era during the rule of King Mahabali. Everybody in his kingdom was happy and prosperous. There was no shortage of anything, people lived a truthful and contended life and there was equality among them. Mahabali’s popularity was not liked by Gods who wanted to bring an end to his reign as they felt challenged and insecure. Lord Vishnu appeared as Vamana and deceitfully defeated Mahabali. However, Vishnu granted him a boon that he could visit his people every year with whom he was so attached. So, Onam is celebrated every year to welcome Mahabali.

Competitions, dance performances, sports, etc. are organized during Onam celebrations. Some notable features of Onam are Vallamkali (Snake Boat Race), Talappanthukali (a ball game), Ambeyyal (Archery), Kayyankali, Attakalam, Kaikotti kali, Thumbi Thullal, Kummatti kali, Pulikali, etc.

On Thiruvonam day, King Mahabali is believed to visit every Malayalee home to meet his people. So, homes and surroundings are cleaned and decorated with flowers and traditional lamps. Sumptuous feasts are prepared in every household.

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