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Kerala is trying to strike a balance between ‘Onam’ and the COVID-19 pandemic this year

Onam/Thiruvonam is an annual festival, celebrated in Kerala, India. According to legends, the festival is celebrated to commemorate King Mahabali, whose spirit is said to visit Kerala at the time of Onam. Onam is a major festival for Malayali people in and outside Kerala.

It is usually held in August and September for 10 days, celebrating the golden rule of King Mahabali. According to the Focklore, the demigods sent Vishnu in the form of Dwarf Brahmin to defeat Mahabali. After defeating the ruler, Vishnu granted the King’s soul wish to visit his land every year for 10 days.

Important events during onam are-
Tripunithura athachamayam, which is celebrated in the first day with grandeur and zeal. Vallamkali is one of the most famous activities during onam, the exciting Snake boat race. Beside that pookalam – the floral decoration, Grand tiger dance-pulikali, onam Sandhya, folk dance Kalkottikakali, Kathakali makes the celebration, rise at its peak.

It is the joyous occasion of bringing happiness and prosperity in human life and enjoying the bounty of nature, flavoured with all the colours, history, cultures and beliefs of Kerala.

In 1961, Onam was declared the national festival of Kerala. It is an incredible harvest festival. This year it falls on the 22nd of August, Saturday to 2nd of September, Wednesday. Out of 10 days, last 4 days are very significant.

Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan appealed to people to follow the guidelines of Onam 2020 amid the pandemic. Onam celebration, this time, should be limited within the home. The floral carpet should be made of locally available flowers, public celebration or public gathering will not be allowed, Onam Sandhya are prohibited; this year, there will be no boat race, no Athachamayam and no Grand tiger dance; strict social distancing is to be practiced on the day of Thiru Onam (August 31).

Kerala is one of the most successful state in checking the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. Government and aware locals are following all the precautionary measures to balance between festival and pandemic.

Happy Onam! May King Mahabali bless us with good health and happiness. Wishing all of you a life as colourful as Pookalam.