The festival is dedicated to King Mahabali, whose spirit is believed to visit Kerala during this period. This year, the celebration begins on August 12th, and Thiruvonam falls on August 21st in Malaysia.
Who is King Mahabali?King Mahabali is an 'Asura' (demon) known for his kind heart and noble deeds. It's said that during his reign, Kerala flourished like never before. Despite being a demon, Mahabali's generous and kind nature made some Gods jealous and they requested Lord Vishnu to restrain the demon king.
To fulfill their wishes, Lord Vishnu turned into a poor Brahmin dwarf Vamana and visited King Mahabali with a simple wish. Lord Vishnu wished for a piece of land in the size of his three feet. Without any hesitation, Mahabali agreed to grant his wish.
Suddenly, Vamana grew bigger in size until his first two steps covered the earth and sky. King Mahabali, staying true to his words, showed his head for Vamana to place his third step.
Impressed with the demon king, Lord Vishnu blessed him to be remembered by people of Kerala forever and allowed him to visit his kingdom during the Onam celebration every year.
The Return of King MahabaliKing Mahabali's homecoming is celebrated in ten days named as Atham, Chithira, Chodhi, Vishakam, Anizham, Thriketa, Moolam, Pooradam, Uthraadam, and Thiruvonam respectively. The most important days during the festival are 'Uthraadam' (when the demon king returns), 'Thiruvonam' (the demon king visits homes of his people), 'Avittam' (preparations for the king's departure) and the last day of Onam (where the demon king gets back to Patala Loka where demons reside).
Now, you know why the Malayali Hindus celebrate the iconic Onam festival every year!
Source: First Post & News18
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