Onam: The Story Of Legendary King Mahabali's Homecoming

Onam 2021: Sadya, a multi-course meal served on banana leaves, is one of the biggest highlights of Onam. The festival also sees people taking part in boat races called Vallam Kali.

Onam: The Story Of Legendary King Mahabali's Homecoming

The main Onam festival will be celebrated over three days from August 21-23.

Onam celebrates the homecoming of the legendary King Mahabali. While it is held over 10 days, the main festival will be celebrated over three days from August 21-23.

Mahabali, despite being a demon king, was said to be generous and benevolent. His rule is likened to the golden era. Because of this, his return every year is so widely celebrated. The festival is celebrated in the Malayalam calendar month of Chingam. Onam is also a harvest festival.

It is said that Mahabali defeated the gods and took over the three worlds. This made gods resent him and urge Lord Vishnu to help them in their fight against the demon king. Mahabali was a devotee of Lord Vishnu and the god found it difficult to take sides in the battle. Vishnu, in his Vamana (poor Brahmin) avatar, visited Mahabali. He made the king agree to his wish. Vamana asked for property rights over a piece of land that measures "three paces". Mahabali agreed to this wish.

The Vamana avatar then grew in size and covered everything the king ruled in just two steps. To keep his word and honour, Mahabali offered his head for the third step. 

Impressed by his gesture, Lord Vishnu allowed him to return to Earth once every year. This homecoming is celebrated as Onam.

Sadya, a multi-course meal served on banana leaves, is one of the biggest highlights of Onam. The festival also sees people taking part in boat races called Vallam Kali.

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