Onam festival is one of the famous festivals of Incredible India. Especially celebrated in the state of Kerala, the festival is a harvest celebration of Malayalis. The importance of Onam spans both cultural and religious aspects. Non-Resident Indian Malayalis make sure to spend this festival irrespective of their geographical location outside India.
Significance of Onam
The story behind the Onam festival goes like this. Once there lived a great king named Mahabali in the land of Kerala. He was known for his philanthropic nature. Gods were afraid of his good deeds and assumed that he might take over their good name and fame. They approached Lord Vishnu to seek help in curbing the growing fame of Mahabali.
Lord Vishnu assures us that he will take care of the request but not immediately. As he finds nothing wrong with Mahabali and his good nature. After many thousands of years, he comes in the form of a small brahmin boy. He seeks three-foot land as a gift from Mahabali. When the king agrees to this, the boy occupies the sky and the earth with his two feet. As the third foot lands, he steps onto the head of Mahabali and crushes him into the underworld.
Before that he grants him a boon that he can come back every year to visit his people and witness how happy they are. Thus, Onam marks the visit of Mahabali to the land of Kerala every year to witness the harvest.
Importance of Onam
Onam is an important festival of Malayalis. The festival signifies their cultural practices intensely. Onam special lunch, traditional attire, celebrations and gatherings all make this festival more beautiful. Onam is not only celebrated in India but everywhere Indian diaspora is present.
In Kerala, one can witness the celebrations both at the household level and in the office too. Here are some of the Onam celebration ideas in the office:
- Organize and participate in Pookalam competitions. Display your creativity and enthusiasm in drawing and decorating unique pookalam that match the festive vibes.
- Organize a potluck for Ona Sadya. Encourage your teammates to bring in their specialty delicacies so that your Onam lunch turns memorable in the office.
- Organize dumb charades and singing competitions. Encourage your friends to come out with creative ideas to perform the same.
- You could try playing chits where everyone is supposed to do what is written in the chit. Let this activity bring in the fun that you missed badly due to the lockdown.
- If you are working remotely, organize competitions virtually. Gather over video calls and participate in Onam celebrations without missing the festive mood.
The significance of Onam in the cultural arena of Incredible India is very high. Boat races, elephant decorations, and celebrations in temples are another major attraction of the Onam festival. Onam is also a super season of shopping for Malayalis. Gifts and wishes cross borders and the whole ten days of the festival fill in their joy and happiness in the people.
Indian festivals and their colorful celebrations make India an incredible one. Onam is one such vivid festival that adds its part to this greatness of Indian culture. Tourists and foreigners can easily recognize the pookalams, Kathakali masks, and Kerala Kasavu sarees along with the coconut flavored delicacies.
Onam, thus, is a very unique festival of India that carries its charisma and beauty. If you are planning to visit Kerala next time, make sure to visit during the Onam festival season to witness the culture from up close. Happy Onam to you all.