Celebrated by the Malayali, Onam is a Hindu Festival that is celebrated on the Thiruvonam Nakshatra in the month of Chingam – which falls approximately around August through September on the Gregorian Calender. It is a harvest festival of Kerala, India but is celebrated by many Hindus all over the world.
This festival is based on one of the most famous Hindu legends. According to the legend, there was a king called Mahabali that ushered in the golden age for the city of Kerala. During this time, people of the city had everything they could every hope or wish for. But that golden age aruptly came to an end when the gods brought and end to his reign. Even though he was vanquished and his golden age had ended, however, he was granted one last request. The gods allowed him to come back once every year to visit his people, and it is this visit the people celebrate every year.
The Festival of Onam starts on the day of Atham and ends on the day Thiruonam, thereby lasting a period of about ten days. During this carnival, flowered carpets called Pookalam are laid in front of every household. This if often followed by fireworks, parades of elephants and an elaborate feast called Sadhya. Another event featured during this festival is the Vallamkali – or snake boat race. The festival is also accompanied by a lot of music and dancing.