Onam is the biggest and grandest festival in Kerala (India). Considered as a harvest festival, the event is celebrated with complete enthusiasm and passion not only in Kerala, but amongst Malyalees living in various parts of the world.
It is believed that the virtuous spirit of King Mahabali visits Kerala. Folk arts performances, grand celebrations, yummy feasts and to watch this colourful sight, people are gathered at the banks of river Pampa to see the spectacular Snake boat race (Vallamkali).
As per the Hindu mythology, the demon named Mahabali was blessed by Lord Vishnu through his fifth Vaman avatar and was made king of demons underworld. He was allowed to visit earth once a year and i.e. when Onam festival commemorates his home coming.
Mahabali is said to be one of the 12 ruling classes of the Supreme Power (Lord Vishnu). Being a great devotee of Lord Vishnu, Mahabali was spiritually associated with Lord Vishnu’s great saint singer Narsinh Mehta. Since Mahabali was a great believer of Lord Vishnu, despite of his son’s bad deed he wasn’t punished by noble Vishnu.
Lord Rama’s guru Vasishtha has elaborated in his spiritual text “Yoga Vasistha”, to Lord Rama that Mahabali was a virtuous king and was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu.
Vamana avatar has also been described in the pious book Guru Granth Sahib in Sikhism. The page number 1330 conveys the sacred text explaining Vamana avatar, “satjugi tai maNiO ChaliO bali bAvan bhAiO”.
Other opinions: As per pious volume “Yoga Vasistha”, Mahabali had no place left to acquire including heaven. This made him self-centered and also ordered his men to have same kind of behavior in treating others.
Onam 2013 date is September 16.