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ONAM - September 14th 2016
 
Though Onam is celebrated in southern states in India, it is the famous festival of Kerala. It is celebrated by all keralites (Malayalees) irrespective of cast, religion, rich or poor. It falls in the month of Chingam (Aug-Sept) the first month of the Malayalam calendar, depending on the positioning of the stars and the moon.
 
Legend states that Onam is celebrated as the home coming of Mahabali, the king who ruled over Kerala once, "when all men were equal, when no one was poor, when there was neither theft nor dread of thieves" and he was pushed down to the infernal regions (Patala) by Lord Vishnu in the form of Vamana. Keralites celebrate Onam festival to commemorate the Advent of Lord Mahavishnu as Vamana Avatar and to rejoice the annual visit of Emperor Mahabali to meet his people. The legent of Onam may also be reflective of beginning of Brahmins/Namboodiris (Vamanan) dominations in Kerala and the fall of native residents (Mahabali) of Kerala of that time.

Children go around collecting flowers and decorate them in the front portion of the house (Pookkalam) in various designs and patterns. The image of Thrikkakara Appan (Vishnu in the form of Vamana) is installed in every Hindu home during the Onam season.

The most important days of the Onam festival are Uthradom (September 13th 2016) and Thiruonam days (September 14th 2016 ). On the latter, a grand feast, onasadya, is held in every home. Onam also provides an occasion for family get-together among the Keralites.

Onam is also the best time to plan one's travel and tour in Kerala.
 
It is also a time for sports, festivities and ritual celebrations in Kerala. It synchronizes with the tourist week celebration, which starts formally on the day of Atham and the 10 day Onam festival starts form this day… atham pathinu ponnonam
 
Colorful aquatic festivals are organized along the sacred River Pampa as the part of the celebrations. The famous snake boat races of Kerala are also celebrated at the time of onam. At Aranmula, where there is a temple dedicated to Lord Krishna and Arjuna and housands of people gather on the banks of the River Pampa to witness the exciting snake boat races called Arummula vallamkali.

Nearly 30 chundan vallams or snake boats participate in the festival. Singing traditional boat songs, the oarsmen, in white dhotis and turbans, splash their oars into the water to guide their boats to cruise along like a fish on the move. The golden lace at the head of the boat, the flag and the ornamental umbrella at the center make it a spectacular show of pageantry too.

Each snake boat belongs to a village along the banks of the River Pampa and is worshipped like a deity. Every year the boat is oiled mainly with fish oil, coconut shell, and carbon, mixed with eggs to keep the wood strong and the boat slippery in the water. The village carpenter carries out annual repairs lovingly and people take pride in their boat, which represents their village and is named after it. "

 
The Uunjal aattam (swings) is another integral part of Onam, especially in the rural areas. Young men and women, with onakkodi (new dress), sing Onappaattu (Onam songs) and swings one another.The whole hearted enthusiasm and celebrations associated with Onam is worth seeing for any visitors.
 
People will send onam greeting cards and gifts to their friends & relatives. To read more visit http://www.kuruppampady.com/festivals_onam.php
 
 
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