Onam: India’s True Secular Festival
Onam is primarily a harvest festival of Kerala and falls during the month Malayalam month of Chingam and marks the return of King Mahabali (who the people of Kerala consider as their reigning monarch) from patal( the netherworld). Legend has it that the once King Mahabali conquered all earth, heavens and the netherworld, making all the Gods envious. Being a great and noble King who considered all people as equal, much to the chagrin of the Gods who soon sent lord Vishnu in disguise as Brahmin (Vamana) to deceive the King, while he was performing the while Aswamedha Yagna, on the banks of the River Narmada in present Day Gujarat. The King promised all to anyone who asked him anything. Using the three boons presented to him, the Vamana managed to send King Mahabali to the netherworld. However, the Vamana felt remorseful with his translocation of the good King to the netherworld and allowed King Mahabali back to earth for one day in a year. Onam is all about celebrating this day of his return.
Thus, this ten-day festival is all about keeping ones promises and the truly equality of all mankind, making it truly a secular festival with floral arrangements called pookalam, majestic elephant processions, music and dance and presenting of new clothes. The floral arrangements get larger with every passing day as vigorous cleaning takes place in Temples, Mosques and Churches to mark the final day of Onam, celebrated from Delhi to Dubai and world over, wherever the Malayalam people have presence in numbers. On this day, there is great rejoicing, feasting (primarily with payasam, banana chips and other dishes) and dazzling display of fireworks.
While we too would like wish everyone a very happy Onam and all good things in life, we would ask all to celebrate this truly secular occasion with some fantastic dining experiences at http://www.delightgifts.in/experience-gifts/gourmet/dining-experience/