Kerala CM, Governor send out Onam greetings
Sending out his message on the eve of the Onam festival, Kerala Governor Justice (retd) P Sathasivam said the festival represented a glorious past and a prosperous future. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy along with his cabinet ministers including Ramesh Chennithala, K Babu, K M Mani et al chimed in to extend their heartiest Onam wishes to people and especially Malayalis all over the world.
Onam is a 10-day festival marking the homecoming of King Mahabali of Kerala. Legend has it that King Mahabali was pushed into the nether world by Lord Vishnu because the Gods were jealous of his rising power. Each year on every Onam, Kerala welcomes back its king in all its glory and pays tribute to his sacrifice for his people.
Another legend claims that it was King Mahabali's ego that was the reason why Vishnu pushed him into the nether world to teach him that he was a king and not a God.
The most important part of the Onam festival is the grand meal known as Onasadya. The meal served on traditional banana leaf has 8 different kinds of preparations such as rice, pickles, pachadis, payasams, dals and curries. The meal is a potpourri of all different flavours. The Onasadya plate is fastidiously prepared and meticulously plated.
In olden times, all eight Onasadya preparations had up to eight different varieties served on the banana leaf, which meant 64 delectable dishes!
Onam celebrations are marked by the traditional kesav sarees (white sarees with golden border) worn by the women and a similar mundu (white dhoti with golden border) adorned by the men. Athapookalam or flower arrangements adorn every Malayali household. These pookalam arrangements are made to welcome King Mahabali into the house. Pookalam competitions are organised all over the state.
The Onam festival is one marked by numerous activities such as dance performances: Pulikali, Kaikottikali, Kathakkali, and Kummati Kali. Traditional Onam songs known as the Onappatt are sung by people. Onam festivities enjoy a number of sports and games events collectively known as the Onakalikal. Combats and competitive games such as Kayyankali, Attakalam, Talappanthukali and Kutukutu take place.
Vallam Kali or the boat race is a major attraction during Onam in Kerala. It is a paddled canoe racing and is done in traditional longboats. The major event of Vallam Kali is the Chundan Vallam or the snake boat race. The Nehru Trophy Boat Race takes place every year in Alappuhza in Kerala and attracts many tourists.