Onam/Thiruvonam is a most popular festival of South Indian culture. A ritualistic festival of State Kerala celebrated by malayalees regardless of religion, cast and belief, As Onam 2021 in Kerala is observed to welcome the King Mahabali, who is believed to visit his Kingdom during the period of Onam festival. The festival of Onam 2021 takes place in the beginning of Malayalam month ‘Chingam Which corresponds to month August – September as per the Gregorian calendar. However, Onam is a ten day long festival where in the people around Kerala celebrate each day with its own way of specific celebrations.
Maveli or Mahabali is a mythical king who ruled State Kerala. The king Mahabali has won the heart of his kingdom and received a great respect from his people. The king treated his people equally without any discrimination like caste, rich/poor etc. The Gods became very concern and insecure, due to the popularity of King Mahabali. In order to defeat his reign they asked Lord Vishnu to visit earth as a dwarf Brahmin. Appeared as Vamana, Lord Vishnu requested king Mahabali for three feet of land. As the king accepted his request, the Brahmin boy covered the whole earth with his first step, and the next step covered the whole sky, he then asked for the third step. The king Mahabali bowed in front of Vamana and pleased to place the third step on his head. The Brahmin boy placed by stamping the king Mahabali to the nether region, As a request of Mahabali to visit his kingdom annually the Onam festival is celebrated to welcome his visit.
Onam 2021 begins on August 12 and ends on August 23.The Kerala Hindus celebrate Onam religiously while rest celebrates Onam as part of culture. The article Onam 2021 will give more discussion about celebration, significance and activities.
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History of Onam 2021 – August 12 to August 23
Earlier Onam was found in Maturaikkanci, which states Onam being celebrated in Madurai Temple. In the 19th century the Periyazharwar (Pathikar and Pallads) illuminated the festival Onam, presented to Vishnu and the community. An inscription of 11th century Thrikkakara Temple which is dedicated to Vamana ‘an avatar of Vishnu’ describes the request put by a votary over two days earlier and on Thiru Onam. An Inscription of the 12th century in the Thiruvalla Temple, which is one of the largest temples of Lord Vishnu, explains the contribution given to the temple as a Onam festival alms. A Sanskrit poet ‘Uddanda Sastrikal’ belongs to Court of the Zamorin, has written about festival ‘sravana.’ Sravana is a Sanskrit word which means ‘Nakshatra Thiruvonam.’ The European Memoir of 16th century characterizes Onam, which introduce the rest things included in the Onam celebration in the September month. Historically, Onam has been celebrated as a Hindu community festival, as per Kurup.
Onam 2021 – Atham to Thiruvonam
The festival Onam lasts for ten days where each day has its own importance and uniqueness in celebration. The Onam 2021 in Kerala will begin on August 12 till 23 August. The value, significance and names of each days are discussed below;
- Atham/Day 1: The very first day of Onam which is believed that Mahabali begins the preparations to visit his kingdom, this day is observed by the people of Kerala by filling their house with flower designs/Pookalam and also keeps the statues of King Mahabali and Vamana in their homes.
- Chithira/Day 2: On the second day of Onam people start cleaning their house and surroundings. A new layer of flower design will be added on the second day.
- Chodi/Day 3: People began their shopping for the Onam celebration on this day and along with a new layer of flowers will be added to their Pookalam.
- Vishakam/Day 4: On the fourth day, the keralites set up a spectrum of competitions which is the best part of Onam celebration.
- Anizham/Day 5: The speciality of the fourth day is, in various parts of State Kerala the Boat Race ‘vallamkali’ gets started.
- Thriketta/Day 6: On the sixth day of celebration the Onam Holidays will be announced in schools and other institutions. People will get completely involved in the Onam celebrations.
- Moolam/Day 7: As the seventh day of Onam celebration, the ‘Onam Sadya’ will be prepared, distributed and invites each other for sharing moments together. By the time of the seventh day the whole Kerala state will be decorated.
- Pooradam/Day 8: On the eight day, people bring the Statues of King Mahabali and Vamana in the center of their Pookalam.
- Uthradam/Day 9: The day before or ninth day is the most important day. People prepare for organizing a grand meal with different types of vegetables. This day is believed as The King Mahabali reaches the earth.
- Thiruvonam/Day 10: The last day of Onam festival, on this day people give more importance to worship. The Malayalees get early on this day, visit temples, exchange Onam gifts and end the day by having ‘Thiruvona Sadya.’
Onam 2021 – Tradition of the Festival
Onam 2021 is marked on the beginning of month Chingam. The people around Kerala celebrate the ten days festival with various activities and celebrations including pookalam, boat races, different sports, cultural events, martial arts, worship and so on. As a trend of people of Kerala, the Men and Women wear their traditional dress on this festival. Some of the traditional events discussed below;
- Athachamayam: The celebration of Onam begins with an impressive parade called ‘Athachamayam’ at Tripunithura near Cochin. The procession includes elephant marching, folk arts, music, fancy dressed people, drum beats etc. Historically, the parade starts from Tripunithura to the Vamanamoorthy Temple in Thrikkakara of Ernakulam District. After reaching the Temple people, people begin
- Pookkalam: Onam Pookalam or Floral Rangoli is the major part of Onam festival. The pookalam is made with different varieties of flowers, adding a fire lamp in the middle of the pookalam. Mostly a team of girls/women work on it. People start drawing pookalam at the beginning of Onam festival (Atham). The People of Kerala organizes Pookalam competition as part of celebration.
- Pulikali: Pulikali or Kaduvakali is a famous event during the festival of Onam. The participants dress themselves like Tigers and perform their art along with the beats of gadgets. This cultural art is very popular in Thrissur District, thousands visitors arrive annually to watch Pulikali. Along with Pulikali some official worship events, Theyyam are also held. Every year at Thrikkakara Temple, a platform is organized with activities like Kathakali, Patakam, OttamThullal, Chakyar Koothu, Thiruvathira followed by group songs.
- Onam Sadya: Onam Sadya is another best part of Onam festival. The keralite in this ten day festival prepares the feast and serves in plantain The Onam Sadya includes different varieties of vegetables dishes, chips, banana, pappadam, rasam, erisheri, pickles and follows a long list. The Onam Sadya always ends with sweet payasam (a South Indian Dessert). People also go to try a feast from outside. The Kurichians tribe observes the Onam festival as an occasion of eating new grains.
- Vallamkali: Vallamkali is also called the Snake Boat Race. The event is found during the time of Onam. Men and Women from different parts arrive to watch the famous event. Aranmula Uthrattathi and Nehru Trophy Boat Race are two among the famous list. Commonly the event is conducted at the Pampa River. As a tradition the Singapore Malayali diaspora organizes boat races at Jurong
- Post Onam Observances: Avittom or third day of Onam festival. This day is believed as the king prepares to visit his kingdom. The main formality of this day is, people take the Statue of Onathappan and immerse in the nearby After the official celebrations people remove the pookalam.
Ways to Celebrate Onam – 2021
Here are few ways to celebrate Onam 2021.
- As pookalam is an important part of Onam celebration, conduct a pookalam competition followed by an award ceremony.
- Onam games can be organized in your locality. Onam activities like tug of war, thala panthu kali, clap dance etc. Can be played by making different groups.
- Choice of being Mahabali for the ten day festival is a great Wearing the costume of the King Mahabali, Visiting the city and people will be more interesting.
- Families can hang swings on their balconies and gardens. Mainly little ones love this activity.
- Preparing the meal ‘Onam Sadya’, inviting friends and families, having some moments together, taking photos will add beauty in celebrations.
- The tradition of wearing Onapudava, both men and women can wear the traditional dress on the Onam festival.
The Onam 2021 falls on 20 August Friday and the Thiruvonam 2021 will be observed on 21 August Saturday. Let us together celebrate the arrival of the epic King Mahabali with a great festive spirit. To all the people of Kerala celebrating Onam, We wish a Happy Onam 2021!
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