Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the State Tourism’s Onam cultural festival at the Nishagandhi Auditorium in Thiruvananthapuram district on Sunday. The much-anticipated 10-day festival, which commenced on August 20, is set to conclude on August 31 this year.
The festival holds deep cultural significance, honoring and fostering values of inclusivity and togetherness. This year’s central theme, “Onam: The Symphony of Harmony,” was aptly chosen to encapsulate the spirit of the occasion, as expressed by Tourism Minister P.A. Mohamed Riyas.
Further enriching the celebrations, Kerala Legislative Assembly Speaker A.N Shamseer inaugurated the ‘Ponnonam 2023’ Onam festivities at the district town square in Kannur. Organized by the Kannur District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC), the event featured an array of captivating performances, including flash mobs, aksharslokam, folk songs, group dances, mega thiruvathira, and mohiniyattam, as reported by ANI news agency.
In his speech during the event, the Speaker highlighted the unifying potential of festivals like Onam in countering communalism, underscoring the importance of harmony and solidarity.
The 10-day-long Onam festivities, known as Thiru-Onam or Thiruvonam, are marked by fervor across Kerala as the people pay homage to the legendary King Mahabali’s homecoming, intertwined with a tapestry of captivating stories and myths.
The sequence of events starts with Atham and progresses through Chodhi, Vishakam, Anizham, Thriketa, Moolam, Pooradam, Uthradam, culminating on the 10th day known as Thiruvonam, a day of immense significance. Thiruvonam, the final day, holds great auspiciousness as it signifies the culmination of the Onam celebrations. Families come together to prepare and relish Onasadya, the lavish Onam feast.
Onam is observed during the Chingam month, heralding the onset of the Malayalam calendar year known as Kolla Varsham. This harvest festival commemorates the return of the revered demon King Mahabali, also known as Maveli, to his beloved state of Kerala.
According to legends, King Mahabali’s benevolent rule over all three worlds drew concern from the Gods due to his popularity. Seeking help, they invoked Lord Vishnu, who assumed the form of Vamana, a Brahmin dwarf. The resulting encounter between Vamana and Mahabali forms a central theme in Onam’s narrative.
The preparations for Mahabali’s arrival are symbolized by the creation of vibrant floral carpets, known as Pookkalam, adorning homes and institutions. The festivities extend to schools, universities, offices, and various other locations, painting Kerala in a festive hue.
Onam transcends cultural boundaries, epitomizing Kerala’s unity and rich heritage. As the celebrations continue, the spirit of Onam resonates with millions, echoing values of harmony and togetherness.