Onam celebrated with fervour, nostalgia across the world
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Malayalis across the world on
Sunday celebrated Onam, the national festival of Kerala, with traditional
fervour and gaiety. Despite light rain in some parts of the state, the festival
was celebrated with a lavish, 26-dish traditional vegetarian lunch, flowers and
a degree of nostalgia.
In the state, people offered prayers in temples early
in the morning while the day was marked by feast and festivities, including
cultural programmes organised by various institutions. Heavy rush was witnessed
at major temples, including the famous hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa at
Sabarimala, Sree Krishna Temple at Guruvayur and Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple
Onam is celebrated to honour King Mahabali, who
according to legend ruled the state once, under whom the people were equal,
prosperous and happy.
People believe that it was on this particular day of
Thiruvonam in the Malayalam calendar month of Chingam when Lord Mahavishnu took
his fifth avatar as Vaamana, appeared in the kingdom of King Mahabali and sent
him to the netherworld.
According to legend, on Thiruvonam day the spirit of
King Mahabali visits the people of Kerala. Onam is celebrated by Malayalis of
all religions, castes and creeds, cutting across the financial standing of the
Flower mats (Pookalam) were laid in houses and family
members enjoyed the grand feast (Onasadya). A week-long cultural extravagance
organised by the state tourism department as part of Onam festival is underway
in several places since September 5.
On the occasion of Thiruvonam on Sunday, the most
important day in the 10-day long Onam calendar, people were in a festive mood,
while a few recalled age-old customs associated with the event.
Soaring prices of essential commodities did not dampen
the spirit of the people who thronged markets till last night to buy their
favourite items for Onam celebrations. High price of vegetables, the main
ingredient for the feast, literally put the households in tight spot.
In central districts of Kerala, every festival is
dependent on the price of natural rubber and since 2011, the price of rubber
has been going down from Rs 210 per kg in 2010 to just Rs 126 per kg today.
The day also witnessed a protest in front of the
secretariat here with a group of tribals continuing their stand in-dharna
demanding land for landless tribals.