Friday, August 31, 2012


FLOWERS AND FEAST CELEBRATION - The spirit of Onam once again prevailed in the city as residents both Malayalees and non Malayalees joined in the celebrations on the auspicious Thiru Onam day on Wednesday in Coimbatore. While some preferred to invite friends and relatives for the traditional Onam feast at their residence, hotels and eateries witnessed a huge rush especially during the lunch hours. Their patrons were mostly private firm employees who celebrated Onam and exchanged greetings over lunch. The city based associations of Keralites including the Coimbatore Malayalee Samajam had organised special cultural events and the traditional Onam food fare on occasion of the festival. “We had a good turnout this year. We had organised some cultural programs including traditional Kerala dance forms,” said K Rajagopal, President, Coimbatore Malayalee Samajam. Onam fever had gripped even the IT sector where employees donned the traditional garb, the white sari and dhoti. Food courts at the IT firm campuses had arranged for special Kerala cuisine, the vegetarian lunch with payasam on Wednesday.

Onam, is a combination of the Kerala new year and the harvesting festival. Traditional food varieties including avail, sambhar, upperi and pachchadi were in great demand, favoured over the usual masala dosa, fried rice and noodles. “Almost the entire office was in traditional attire and all of them made it a point to partake in the traditional Onam feast. A huge floral carpet was also made in the morning,” said Malini Pollekkad, employed with a major IT firm in Keeranatham near Saravanampatti. Some city restaurants had also come up with 'Thiru Onam lunch kits' especially for those who did not want to spend their Onam sweating in the kitchen but still wanted to savour the spirit of the festival with their dear ones. Apart from natives of Kerala, some local residents also joined in the celebrations. It was a day to relax from their hectic schedule and meet friends and relatives. “Since it is a holiday we decided to have a small family get together and cook an Onam lunch at our residence. It was a good experience,” said L Mahesh Priya, a lecturer at a private college in Coimbatore. Keralites believe that they have to appear as happy and prosperous as they were in the days of Mahabali, the benevolent king, who returns to Kerala once a year to see his subjects. This was a boon he received from the Supreme God himself, Vishnu.

Onam is the most important festival of Kerala. This regional festival is celebrated every year to honor the demon-king Maha Bali and his reign. During the festival, homes are decorated with floral designs, boat races are organized, and family gatherings are held with festive dinners.  The great Emperor Mahabali was the grandson of Prahlada Maharaja. Unlike any other demon, Mahabali was a very good king and a great devotee of Lord Vishnu, too. During the reign of Mahabali, the world was like heaven and everyone was praising him in the three worlds. Lord Vishnu came as Vamana (the dwarf) to get rid of the pride of him.

In the Vedic/Hindu tradition, there are many festivals that are observed throughout the year. There are major festivals and numerous minor ones, as well as those that are celebrated on a local or regional basis, which are celebrated differently according to the location, or even named differently. There are different festivals to celebrate the various incarnations of God, as well as those that honor the seasons, harvests, relationships, and certain principles of the Vedic culture. One of the major festivals is Onam: This festival marks the day on which the great devotee of Lord Vishnu Emperor Maha Bali, the grandson of Prahlada (the great devotee of Lord Narasimha), received benediction and liberation with the blessings of the Lord, who had assumed the form of Vamanadeva, the dwarf incarnation. Onam is celebrated in August-September, and especially in Kerala. Onam is a ten-day festival marked by women creating beautiful floral patterns in front of their houses, pujas for Lord Vishnu, feasting and boat races.

Stephen Knapp (Śrīpad Nandanandana dasa) :
“Hindu Festivals”  -

Published by dasavatara das - "Vedic Views on World News"

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