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Friday, September 9, 2011

Onasadaya........ Today


Crappy feeling this morning..maybe because of the wakeup call from Rahul who did not realize that he is in India on vacation called at 6.40 am that too on a Friday. Tried to go back to sleep but after tossing and turning for few minutes it was evident that I would not go back to the land of the nods.. so woke up and had my morning tea.


Onam being celebrated today by the people from “ Gods Own Country” ( Kerala) so called up few friends and wished them on the festivities. Being curious by nature started browsing the net to find out the reasons for the celebrations and this is what I learnt about the festival

Onam is an ancient festival still surviving in modern times celebrated the annual  home coming of Demon King Mahabali from Patala (Underworld). Onam is an unique festival since Mahabali has been revered by the people of Kerala from prehistory times. According to the legend everybody in the state were happy and prosperous and the King Mahabali was highly regarded by his subjects so much so that the gods under Indra were jealous and they approached Lord Vishnu stating the Mahabali is now equivalent to Indra now and the universe cannot have both as it would create an imbalance. Mahavishnu took up the Vamana Avatar and tricked Mahabali to Patala. By the grace of Mahavishnu each year Mahabali visits his people on an annual 
basis.

Onam falls in the Malayalam month of Chingam (August-September) and 10 days festival showcases the rich traditional culture of Kerala with Intricate flower carpets, elaborate banquet lunches, Vallamkali ( Snake boat races) on river Pamba, Thumbi thulla and kaikottikkali dances by women and folk dances Puli Kali and Kummatti kali. The central feature of Onam is the grand feast called the Onasadya, prepared on Thiruonam ,a 9 course meal have between 11 to 13 essentials and is had on banana leaf with people sitting on the floor.

 The following Malayalam song is generally sung during Onam

“maveli nadu vaneedum kalam,

manusharellarum onnupole
amodhathode vasikkum kalam
apathangarkkumottillathanum
kallavum illa chathiyumilla
ellolamilla polivachanam
kallapparayum cherunazhiyum
kallatharangal mattonnumilla
adhikal vyadhikalonnumilla
balamaranangal kelppanilla “

and the translation of this song is as under

When Maveli, our King, ruled the land,

All the people were equal.
And people were joyful and merry;
They were all free from harm.
There was neither anxiety nor sickness,
Deaths of children were unheard of,
There were no lies,
There was neither theft nor deceit,
And no one was false in speech either.
Measures and weights were right;
No one cheated or wronged his neighbor.
When Maveli, our King, ruled the land,
All the people formed one casteless races

Such a rich heritage of the people of Kerala is celebrated with lots of pomp all over the world where you have Malayalees residing and gulf having a huge population of people from Kerala is no different. So this day I have been invited to have Onasadya along with my colleagues at their mess.

Though an Indian I never really gave a thought to reason for this celebration but today i got to know about this festival. I know many of my friends would know all the things i have written about Onam, however this is for few of them like me who are totally blank about this festival. By the way King Mahabali is the grand son of Prahalad whose father was slain in Narashiman avatar.