Onam 2020 is the annual harvest fest of Kerala, which falls on the 22nd nakshatra Thiruvonam in the Malayalam calendar month of Chingam. This 10 days celebration will begin on Saturday, 22 August 2020 this year, and end on Wednesday, 2 September 2020. The celebration is the commemoration of the return of King Mahabali from the netherlands. In the famous story of Lord Vishnu’s dashavatar, the fifth avatar or the Vamana Avatar is the story of King Bali or Mahabali of the demons. Although a demon king, Bali was a generous and benevolent ruler, however, as he had snatched the heavens from the Devas and his demons were wreaking havoc throughout the universe, dethroning him was necessary. Therefore, Lord Vishnu took the Vaman avatar and asked for three paces of land from King Mahabali, who allowed the same, not knowing how much land the dwarf monk can cover. Within moments, the Vamana grew to a size of celestial proportions and within two steps covered the entirety of the king’s kingdom – the Earth, the heavens, and the Netherlands.
Now, there was nowhere else to cover the third pace and Mahabali’s promise could go in vain, therefore, the king immediately offered his head to Lord Vioshnu, now knowing his truth. Even though King Bali knew he could die as soon as Lord Vishnu placed his foot on his head, yet he offered. Happy with the King’s values, the Lord allowed him a boon before sending him to the Netherlands and made him immortal. As for the boon, King Bali asked that he wished to visit his lands, his kingdom once each year. This return of the king is celebrated as Onam 2020 in Kerala and many other parts of South India.
Let us read more about Onam 2020 or the Thiruvonam Festival 2020.
Onam 2020 is one of the most popular Hindu festivals in South India, and is celebrated in Kerala as the Harvest festival. Moreover, in Kerala Onam 2020 is a celebration to welcome their ancient king Mahabali.
The festival Onam 2020 continues for a period of ten days. The commemoration is accompanied by great piousness and devotion by the natives of Kerala. Onam 2020 falls in the month of Chingam (Malayalam month) which corresponds with the English months of September and October. The harvest festival of Onam 2020 is an amalgamation of a number of cultural aspects. Onam is also popular as Thiruvonam (specifically the last day of the harvest festival).
Let us learn the specific dates and muhurat for Onam 2020.
|Thiruvonam 2020 Nakshatra Begins at||13:52:20 on 30 August 2020|
|Thiruvonam 2020 Nakshatra Ends at||15:04:17 on 31 August 2020|
However, did you know that the legend of Mahabali is not the only one associated with the festival of Onam 2020. Below we are discussing these legends in detail.
Similar to any other Hindu festival, Onam has more than one legend associated with it. Let’s take a look at the legends of the harvest festival of Onam 2020 or Thiruvonam 2020:
The legend dates back to the reign of the Asura (demon) Mahabali. Mahabali had achieved enormous popularity due to his judicious and benevolent nature towards the subjects and courtesans. His power soon extended to the heavens and he took great pride in challenging the Devas. Bali soon fought against the Devas and snatched the heavens from them. Aditi, the mother goddess requested Lord Vishnu to stop this dominance of Mahabali, whose rule had spread throughout the three worlds and the demons were prevailing, disturbing the balance of the good and evil. As a result, Lord Vishnu decided to test Mahabali before sending him to the Netherlands forever, and took his fifth avatar among the Dashavtar.
Lord Vishnu visited Mahabali’s kingdom in his disguised appearance of a dwarf monk. At the time of his visit to Mahabali’s kingdom, the king was performing a Yagna. Being courteous, he asked Vamana Vishnu about a wish that he would desire. Lord Vishnu in his Vamana Avatar asked for three paces of land that he takes. His wish was granted. As soon as the words were uttered, Vamana Vishnu grew up in gigantic size. He claimed the earth and the netherlands with his first step and his second step claimed the heavens. Still the third step was left to be fulfilled but there was no other piece of land left that owed to Lord Vishnu. King Mahabali asked him to place his third step upon his head.
Because he had made a promise to the Brahamin and not fulfilling his oath was against the king’s morals, he asked the Lord to place his feet on Bali’s head, despite knowing that this act will kill the King. With Vishnu’s third step upon Mahabali’s head, King Bali was sent down to Sutala or the underworld. However, happy with the King’s morals, values, and benevolence, Lord Vishnu not only gave the King immortality, but also allowed him the boon of returning to his kingdom once every year. The time when King Mahabali returns to the Earth and his kingdoms, is celebrated as Onam 2020 by his people.
According to several scriptures, there are different accounts of a story that boils down to the fact that Parashurama, sixth avatar of Lord Vishnu either created, won, or rescued the land that was Kerala and gave it to the Brahmins to safely continue their yagnas and tenacities. While some stories say that Parashuram threw his Parashu, his axe, from Gokarna (north) to Kanyakumari (south) and saved it. Others, describe this scene as that when Parashuram threw his axe into the waters, a land emerged which was Kerala. While again, another story goes that Parshuram conducted the Ashvamedha Yagya and the lands that he won was Kerala that he ultimately gave to the Brahmins. On the whole, the saving, winning, or creating of Kerala is celebrated as Onam 2020.
Onam 2020 is a celebration for ten days. Let's take a look at the ten days that will be followed traditionally in Onam 2020.
Onam 2020 is celebrated for a period of ten days where each day has its own significance. They are as follows:
Atham is the first day of the festival of Onam 2020. On this day of Onam 2020, Atham, people prepare themselves for the spiritual proceedings by taking a bath in the early morning. A traditional breakfast is prepared that consists of bananas (steamed) and papad. Atthyamachan is a royal custom where processions of elephants are followed with other traditional programs. Cradles are decorated with a bunch of flowers which is a special delight for the younger generations on Onam 2020. A mat called Pookalam is also crafted on this day, which is an intricate arrangement of floral patterns on the floor. Pookalam decoration is a part of the tradition of the festival of Onam 2020. The word Pookalam is formed by the combination of two words Poo and Kalam which means decorating with floral sketch patterns. A Pookalam is prepared to welcome King Mahabali during Onam 2020. These Pookalam mats beautify the festival of Onam 2020. Each day of Onam 2020, more flowers are added to the Pookalam, and thus, it gets larger day by day. The dyes for making the Pookalam is derived from natural substances like indigo, bark from trees, vermillion, rice and flour.
Chithira is the second day of harvest festival of Onam 2020. On this day of Onam 2020, Chithira, floral arrangements are the prime feature. Special patterns are layered up on the Pookalam and men are responsible for the arrangement of flowers. This is the day when the planning list for the day of Onam 2020 is done.
Chodhi is the third day of Onam 2020. This is the day when shopping activities take place and markets of Kerala become a display of carnival. Gifting of various times also takes place on Chodhi. The addition of more flowers to a Pookalam decorates it with more gusto and marks the approaching festivities of Onam 2020.
In old times, the day of Vishakam of Onam 2020 used to be a display of harvest items for retail sale. On the fourth day of the harvest festival of Onam 2020, special competitions for Pookalam are also held. Women start the preparations for meals and gatherings are also arranged for close relatives and friends. This is the ethnic day of Onam 2020 celebrations where people dress up in traditional wear and hold singing participation among themselves. The day of Vishakam is the day of frolic and festivity.
On the fifth day of the harvest festival of Onam 2020, boat races are the special exhibit for both tourists and natives. On this day of Onam 2020, Anizham, the boat races that are held are known as Vallamkali. These boats are shaped like snakes with a narrow interior in each and they are called Chundan Vallam. Each Chundan Vallam is rowed by hundreds of men accompanied by Vanchipattu (boat songs). Overall, the day of Anizham is a famous occurrence along the backwaters of Kerala during the festival of Onam 2020 and it has achieved enormous popularity in the country.
The sixth day of the harvest festival of Onam 2020 marks a family get-together when all the family members reunite. This is a day of organizing various cultural participations, and even schools and offices remain closed on this day of Onam 2020, Thriketta. By this day, the carnival of Onam 2020 gets heated up and this is considered to be a great day to attend friends, family, and relatives.
On the seventh day of harvest festival of Onam 2020, people can be seen enjoying themselves in the frenzied atmosphere. This seventh day of Onam 2020 is known as Moolam. Traditional dances like Puli Kali and Kaiputti Kali are organized as well as special buffet lunches or Onasadya are arranged on this day of Onam 2020 for close acquaintances and relatives.
On Pooradam, the eighth day of Onam 2020, small pyramids are created as clay idols of Gods, called Maa. There is a special tradition when idols of Mahabali and Vishnu are cleansed. As per beliefs, this washes away the impurity and therefore, are taken in processions along the house. This is the last day of shopping for Onam 2020 as the tenth day arrives soon. People can be seen hurrying themselves to wrap up the traditions. By Pooradam, the pookalam grows even bigger.
Uthradam is commonly known as Onam 2020 whereas the tenth day is known as Thiru Onam 2020 in Kerala. This marks the day when Mahabali returns to earth and blesses his subjects. On Uthradam or Onam 2020, people offer gifts to their Karnavas or eldest member of the family. These gifts are known as Onaka Chva. Women will cut the vegetables, fruits, and prepare the food items that would be required on Thiru Onam, prepping things for the next day. Altogether, this becomes a warm-up of several preparations before the Thiru Onam 2020.
Thiruvonam 2020 is the tenth and the last day of Onam 2020 festival. People engage themselves in prayers and ritual gatherings by taking a holy bath in the morning. On Thiruvonam 2020, the biggest Pookalam is displayed that is presented to King Mahabali. Onam Sadhya or the Onam 2020 feast is prepared for relatives and friends. Onam Sadhya is followed according to a tradition, where at least 12-13 varieties of food are prepared and served on banana leaves. Dances, musical shows, and traditional gatherings add to the festivities.
Several other traditions are also followed on Avittom and Chathayam which are the third and fourth days of Onam 2020, respectively. It is believed that King Mahabali roams his kingdom, blessing his people till Chathayam. Therefore, mega dance events are held on these two days in his honour. Clay idols are immersed in sea or river water whilerocessions of men dressed as tigers are taken through the streets of Kerala. The Festival of Onam 2020 is a special carnival that bridges together the connection of netherworld and the earth. This signifies that even a demon’s benevolence can win him such honors.
But, how can one talk about a festival without speaking about food? Let’s take a look at the things that can be done to increase the gusto of the Onam 2020 carnival, as we bring you some mouth-watering aspects of the annual harvest festival of Onam 2020.
The festival of Onam 2020 also comprises of the Onam Sadhya, which is the feast that concludes the festival of Onam 2020. Sadhya is a variety of vegetarian dishes that are served on a banana leaf. Sadya literally means ‘banquet’. During Onam Sadya, people participate in the feast with great zeal. Onam Sadhya includes the serving of around 24-27 food items in a single course.
People do not use cutlery and eat food with their hands in this feast of Onam 2020. Onam Sadhya is the time when people participate in a traditional feast. Onam Sadhya cultivates a special gesture of friendliness and warmth, where relatives gather for a get-together. Without food, a festival is unable to share its core belongings. Onam Sadhya is the perfect farewell to the grandeur related to the festival of Onam 2020.
During Onam Sadhya, the food is usually served for lunch. The preparations for Onam Sadhya begin on Onam 2020 eve. The feast should be traditionally be prepared on Thiruvonam 2020 before 10 o'clock in the morning. Although, it is a tradition to sit on the floor with crossed legs, nowadays, people prefer to sit on chairs at the Onam 2020 feast. In Onam Sadhya feast, the food is served on Banana leaves.
Let us now take a look at the delicious food items that is generally served in Onam Sadhya.
The feast day of Onam Sadhya and the Onam 2020 eve involves a social liaison, where people involve themselves in welcoming their guests. The preparations of Onam Sadhya differ among various places of India, and some communities in the northern part of Kerala also include non-vegetarian dishes in Onam Sadhya.
Onam 2020 is the time when people can take a breather from their busy routines and enjoy themselves in a social gathering. Onam 2020 gives you the opportunity to be a part of the joyousness that is the carnival of Onam. On this day, we can get involved in a ritual which is also a cherishable gathering among our friends and relatives. Onam 2020 or Thiruvonam is referred to as the harvest festival as it is the time to sow the harvest of happiness and enthusiasm. Onam 2020 is the feast of gestures that includes friendship, joy and reunion.