Legend Of Onam


Long ago, there lived a kind yet mighty demon-king Mahabali, who was the ruler of Kerala. There was no sorrow, poverty, disease or untimely death in his kingdom. Afraid of his rising popularity, the ever-jealous gods approached Lord Vishnu with a request to put an end to his rule. Counting on his charitable nature, Vishnu disguised himself as a Brahmin dwarf called Vaman and sought three steps of land from Mahabali. However, Vishnu then increased his size to cosmic proportions and covered the entire earth in one step and the entire heaven in the second. When he asked Mahabali, where to place his third step, he humbly offered his head to the divine deity. Pleased with his virtues, Vishnu made him the king of hell and granted a boon to him that he could visit his kingdom once a year. Thus, Onam is celebrated to welcome the legendary king returning annually to his earthly abode and kingdom.

Another legend has it that King Mahabali was a devout worshipper of Lord Vishnu. He was sincere, honest and just ruler. But he had one weakness ego. And to eradicate his pride and redeem his beloved devotee of this one sin, Vishnu came to earth in the form of a dwarf Brahmin named Vaman.

The king in his pride asked the Brahmin what he wanted for he can charity anything. Vaman asked for three paces of land and the king agreed. To make Mahabali realise that he was a puny creature in front of God's universal stature, Vishnu himself had taken Avatar of Vaman and was testing his ability.

Mahabali, who was a man of principles, realized God's purpose and offered his head for Vamana's footstep, as he was sent to another world. This fatal step proved a blessing in disguise for the good king the foot salvaged and released him from the recurrent cycle of birth and death. That is why Onam is celebrated by wearing new clothes and resolving to lead a new life of truth, piety, love, and humility.


Once when some men were sailing on a boat called Palliodam, which was laden with food, it got stuck in the narrow turning of the river. The head oarsmen called Bhattathiripad set out to seek help from the hut near the river. However, when he reached there he found a poor widow and her children weeping because of hunger and poverty. The kind-hearted man took some food from his boat and gave it to them. As soon as it was done, the boat could be easily maneouvered to the main course of river again. Since that day, it has become a tradition to feed a poor person at least on the day of Onam.


Once Aranmulla, the head of the Katoor Mana, a Nambudiri family, was taking a bath in the river. He said his prayers and waited to feed a poor man to complete his ritual. He waited for long but nobody came. Tired of waiting, the Brahmin closed his eyes and began to pray to Lord Krishna. As soon he opened his eyes, he saw a small boy in tatters before him. The devout Brahmin gave a bath to the boy, a set of clothes and a sumptuous meal.

To the surprise of the Brahmin. the boy vanished as soon as he finished his meal. He looked for the boy and spotted him near Aranmulla Temple. But, the boy disappeared again.

The Brahmin came to the conclusion that he was no ordinary boy and was God himself. From then on the Brahmin brought food to Aranmulla Temple every year during Onam.


About Onam

Rituals Of Onam

10 Days Of Onam

Recipes On Onam







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