President Ramnath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu led a host of leaders on Sunday in greeting people, especially Keralites, on the eve of Onam festival.
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan were among those who extended their greetings for the harvest festival of Onam, being celebrated on Monday.
The leaders urged people to celebrate Onam in a modest way, strictly adhering to COVID-19 protocols.
"In the times of the COVID-19 pandemic, while celebrating festivals, we must take care of people from the weaker sections of the society and take adequate measures to protect and safeguard our families and society at large," President Kovind said.
Noting that the festival of Onam was a symbol of our rich cultural heritage, he said it is also an expression of our gratitude to mother nature at the arrival of new crop.
"May this festival strengthen the sense of cooperation and brotherhood in our country and pave the way for prosperity while living in harmony with mother nature," he said in a statement by the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Extending his greetings, the Vice-President said Onam was celebrated to honour the memory of the legendary King Mahabali, the honest, just, fair, kind and compassionate ruler of Kerala.
"This Onam, while we celebrate material prosperity, let us also remind ourselves of the values of honesty, integrity, kindness, compassion, selflessness and sacrifice which the great king Mahabali espoused," he said in a message.
"Onam is an occasion for family and friends to come together and celebrate. But this year, given the unprecedented health emergency we face due to the spread of COVID-19, I urge my fellow citizens to celebrate Onam in a modest way at home, strictly adhering to COVID health and hygiene protocols," the Vice President said.
Prime Minister Modi said the zest of Onam has reached foreign lands.
"These days, the festival of Onam is also being celebrated with fervour. The zest of Onam has reached foreign lands. Be it USA, Europe or Gulf countries, the joys of Onam can be felt everywhere. Onam is increasingly turning to be an international festival: PM during #MannKiBaat," the Prime Minister''s Office tweeted.