Thursday, August 17, 2017

Malayalam New Year Chingam 1 and Onam 2017

Chingam 1 known as Chingam Onnu, is the new year for Keralites. 'Chinga Masam' means 'Chingam month' which is the first month of Malayalam calender year. Chingam 1 or Chingam Onnu, starts on August 17, 2017 and the malayalam year known as Kolla Varsham. The Kolla varsham of 2017 is 1193. Onam is one of the biggest festivals of Kerala which is observed in the month of Chingam month.

No Moon Day known as Karthuvavu or Amavasi falls on August 21 and Full Moon day which is known as Veluthuvavu or Purnami day falls on September 6th. 

Onam Festival

Onam carnival continues for ten days from Atham day which falls on August 25, 2017 and September 3rd Uthradam is observed as Onnam Onam (First Onam day),  Thiru Onam (Second Onam day), Munnam Onam (Third Onam day) Avittam and Nallaam Onam (fourth Onam day) known as Chathayam. Onam is also a harvest festival.People of all religions, castes and communities celebrate the festival with equal joy and verve. 

Onam is about the mythological King Mahabali also known as Maveli the great great grandson of sage Kashyapa, great grandson of Hiranyakshipu, the grand son of Prahlada and son of Virochana. Mahabali after his exploits and conquest of the universe sponsors a sacrifice and gift giving ceremony to consolidate his power. Vishnu appears at this ceremony as a dwarf mendicant Brahmin called Vamana. 
Maha Bali offers whatever riches and material wealth Vamana would like. Vamana refuses everything and states he would just like three steps worth of land. Bali finds the dwarf's request amusingly small and irrevocably grants it.Vamana then grows into a giant the size of cosmos. In the first step, he covers the earth. In second, he takes the heavens. The boy asked where should he keep the third step, Mahabali realized that Brahmin boy Vamana is none other than his god Vishnu and as he promised, for the third step, Bali offers his head on which Vamana steps sending the demon king to the Patala (netherworld).

Mahabali was a beloved king and very kind to his subjects in the state of Kerala. Mahabali's request to visit his people once in a year was granted by God. This annual visit of King Mahabali is celebrated as Onam in Kerala.

There are a lot of cultural activities like Pulikali, Kummattikali, Talappanthukali, Kutukutu and combats like Kayyankali, Onatalu and Attakalam. Floral decoration or colourful arrangement of flowers laid on the floor caled Pookalam, sports and games as a part of Onam celebrations. Onasadhya or Onam feast or grand meal comprises of different varieties of Kerala cusines and curries served on a Banana leaf.


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