Prabhu, a resident of sector 16 Dwarka reminisces the time with his grandfather in Kerala when Onam celebrations included boat rides and mask dances.
Celebrating festivals with traditional rituals in the densely packed high-rise buildings of NCR may pose some challenges. Nonetheless, the community comes together to celebrate the festival making it memorable.
For Jerin Sabu, a college student from Raj Nagar Extension, Onam is very close to his heart for the culinary extravaganza it invites. "As a foodie, I look forward to eating the 10-12 dishes on a banana leaf prepared by my mom."
Akhil, a resident of Dwarka, tells the history behind Onam and explains the significance behind traditions such as Sadhya, Pulikali, and Onapottan. The 10-day festival of Onam celebrates the harvest in Kerala. Traditionally, the festival marks the homecoming of demon king Mahabali. The legendary king Mahabali was known for his kindness and benevolence. A common belief is that King Mahabali pays a yearly return to his birthplace in Kerala.
According to the tale, Mahabali defeated the gods and took over the 3 worlds. This brought him the ire of gods. Lord Vishnu, in his Vamana (poor Brahmin) avatar, visited Mahabali and asked for 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. Vishnu was impressed by this gesture and agreed to allow him to visit Earth once every year.
This year, Onam is on September 8, 2022, in the month of Chingam. The rituals associated with the festival include taking a bath, making prayers, dressing traditionally, creating flower rangolis known as Pookalam, and preparing a traditional meal or Sadhya.
Shajimol Ebey, a Noida resident, adds, "Every year, we make flower rangoli on the entrance gate, which we call Pookalam, and we draw it every morning for 10 days for welcoming legendry Mahabali."