Onam: The Harvest Festival of Kerala
Onam, a harvest festival that lasts 10 days and commemorates King Mahabali's return, is a major holiday in Kerala and among the Malayalee people worldwide. Onam celebrations this year began on August 30 and will end on September 8. According to the Malayalam calendar, Onam is observed on the day of Thiruvonam nakshatram (Shravana asterism) in the month of Chingam. The holiday is enthusiastically observed with music, food, and the most well-known event being the boat races in Kerala's backwaters. The three realms were subject to King Mahabali's sovereignty after the Gods were vanquished, according to Vaishnava mythology. Even though he was a demon, King Mahabali was reputed to be kind and courteous to his subjects, and Kerala looks back on his reign as the golden age.
Other Gods were displeased with the king's popularity and requested Lord Vishnu's assistance in a conflict with him. In order to assist, Lord Vishnu volunteered to disguise himself as a lowly dwarf Brahmin (his Vamana incarnation from the Dasavatara), fooled Monarch Mahabali, and then went to the king to ask for three wishes. Mahabali granted the Brahmin's request for the property right o ver a plot of land that is "three paces" in size. In just two strides, the dwarf immediately increased in size and engulfed the entire area that Mahabali governed. Mahabali offered his head as payment for the third step. Mahabali was granted permission by Vishnu to visit the world once a year as a result of his devotion and good acts; onam is the name given to this yearly visit. It also celebrates the rice harvest.
Onasadya, or large feasts, are prepared for this day and are incredibly popular with non-Malayalees. There are 13 dishes total. The food is typically served on banana leaves and consists of rice as well as other foods, pickles, and papads. During Onam, a special sweet dish called "payasam" is a need.