Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Onam 2019 - Know its Muhurat and associated Rituals

Thiruvonam celebrations to take place on 11 September, 2019. Find interesting facts about this festival and also know it's auspicious Muhurat.

The most prominent festival celebrated in God’s own country, Kerala happens to be Onam. Almost each and every native of this South Indian state joyously take part in the ten day long celebrations of this harvesting festival. However, Thiruvonam or the tenth day is given the most significant status as the major festivities take place on this day only. In the Malayalam language, the Shravan Nakshatra is known as Thiruvonam and as per the Malayalam Calendar, when this particular Nakshatra becomes active during the month of Chingam, Thiruvonam is worshipped. If one bear witnesses to the vivid revels of Onam, then the grand cultural heritage of kerala comes into notice. The breathtaking boat race, feasts inclusive of scrumptious delicacies, Keralites make the most of this time, during the season of Onam. 

Ten Days of Onam

  • First Day - Atham
Apart from Thiruvonam, it is regarded as the most important day of this festival.
  • Second Day - Chithira 
During the second day, each and every native goes on a cleaning spree
  • Third Day - Chodhi
On this day, the markets and shops get ready with all the festive and decorative items
  • Fourth Day - Visakam 
Carpet making Competitions are held on this day in various parts of this state.
  • Fifth Day - Anizham 
The exquisite boat race event called Vallamkali is organized on this day.
  • Sixth Day -Thriketa 
Many other cultural events take place on this day.
  • Seventh Day- Moolam 
It is a great sight to watch the overcrowded ye decorated market spaces and houses on this day.
  • Eighth day - Pooradam 
The day is also considered quite significant during the festival of Onam goes on. Idols of clay are made out by devotees.
  • Ninth Day- Uthradam 
Most of pre Thiruvonam festivities begin on this day only.
  • Final and the Tenth Day - Thiruvonam
The most important of all, is the tenth and final day, which is called called Thiruvon. In the year of 2019, Thiruvonam celebrations will take place on 11 September 2019 and its auspicious Muhurat is noted below.

Thiruvonam Nakshatram Begins at11:09:33 on September 10, 2019
Thiruvonam Nakshatram Ends at13:59:43 on September 11, 2019

Note: This duration is applicable for New Delhi area only. Click Here to know the valid Muhurat for your city.

Mythological Significance of Onam 

As per popular beliefs , it is stated that a demon king named Mahabali used to rule Kerala during the ancient times. Under his reign, the local natives enjoyed a peaceful time and encountered little or no difficulties. However, the king of all the Devtas, Lord Indra became jealous of his rising popularity and as he apprehended that Mahabalis’ grand status would overshadow his power and authority. Consequently, he manipulated all the Devas to approach Lord Vishnu and ask him to end his reign. Vishnu ji, who was quite aware of Mahabali’s generous nature, took the form of a Vamana(a dwarf Brahmin) and pleaded with him to donate three footsteps of land. Afterwards, Vishnu ji, disguised as the Vamana, enclosed the entire earth in his first step and then went on to cover the whole of heaven in his second step. When he was seeking for a spot to put forth his last and third step, King Mahabali presented his head for Lord Vamana to put his foot on, and Lord Vamana pushed him to purgatory. But King Mahabali's benevolence created a deep imprint in Vishnu Ji’s heart which is why he gave him the boon of being able to visit his subjects and kingdom once in a year. Thus, the festival of Onam is celebrated in Mahabali’s honour and to mark his homecoming.

Onam: Associated Rituals

Many rituals find place in the festivities of Onam. There are also various rites which are strictly and religiously followed by the natives of Kerala. Some of them are mentioned below. 

  • Wake up early in the morning and begin your day by cleaning the house. 
  • Select a place in the front yard of the house and smear it with cow dung. 
  • Afterwards, prepare conical figures made out of sticky clay. Paint them red and place it on the cleaned space. 
  • A senior family member of the house should wake up early in the morning. The concerned person should perform all the rituals and also act as the priest. 
  • He/she should also prepare the Ata( made from rice flour and molasses) to make the Naivedyam(offering to God) 
  • Light lamps in front of all the Gods and joyously take part in the celebrations along with your family members. 
  • The tradition of Arappu Vilakkukal should also be followed where the male members of the household make loud noises in a joyous and rhythmic manner which marks the beginning of Onam celebrations. 
  • Each and every family member should dress up and pay a visit to the local temple 
  • Afterwards, offer Onapudava (tradition of gifting clothes) to family members and servants. 

Apart from the ones mentioned above, there are some significant occurrences during Onam, which are definitely carried out in a traditional Malayalam family. They are noted down below 

Onasadya: The Grand Feast 

After the completion of the morning rituals, the family members get ready to take part in the grand feast which is also known as Onasadya. The most prominent and biggest area of the household is selected to have the meal. Mats are laid down on the ground so that one can enjoy the traditional Malayalam grandeur while eating. During this feast, the eldest member of the family sits at the centre and a brass lamp is placed in front of him at a distance. A small plantain leaf is used to serve the food which is kept on the left side of the lamp. It is considered to be an offering made to Lord Ganpati. After the offering is made to Ganapati, the food is distributed among everyone. The extensively rich meal prepared on this day consists of only vegetarian dishes and served on a banana leaf. 

Vallamkali: The Boat Race 

Vallamkali or the Snake Boat Race, is the most anticipated event of Onam. Just a few days before Thiruvonam, this race takes place at at Alappuzha. Quite a significant number of decorated large boats, also known as Chundan Vallams participate are seen in this race. The boats are rowed by the participants according to the beats of drums and rhythm of songs.

Recreational Activities

During the festival of Onam, natives also take part in various recreational activities. Those who take a keen interest in sports, are exceptionally seen getting involved in such activities. Some traditional games are played during this festival, which are collectively known as Onakalikal which include ball archery, Kutukutu (Kabaddi), games and combats. Meanwhile, dances like Kaikottikali and Thumbi Thullal are performed by girls and woman. A Clap dance called Kaikotti kali is performed by women in their ethnic gold bordered mundu and neriyathu is a wonderful sight to spectate. Additionally, there is also a tradition of taking rides in a swing which is hung high in a tree. Onappaattu or the songs of Onam are also played during this festive season. 

We hope that you find this blog of ours interesting and insightful. Wish you a happy and prosperous Onam. Thankyou for staying connected with AstroSage.

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