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Onam - the national festival of Kerala

Kerala is a small state nestling in the southernmost part of India between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea. Onam is its big festival. It originated as a harvest festival since it comes during the months of August and September, when Kerala has its best harvests and the granaries are full.

Celebrated during the Malayalam month of chingam, Onam is the state festival of Kerala and is marked by pageants, boat races, flower carpet competitions, and various tourist attractions lasting for ten days. Elaborate feast called onasadya on four auspicious days, especially on the Thiruvonam day during Onam is a highlight of this festival.

The legend behind Onam is about Mahabali, the noble king who once ruled Kerala. When some jealous gods forced him to vacate his throne, he requested that he be allowed to visit his subjectsonce in a year. Onam is the day on which he comes every year, and the people of Kerala welcome him with great festivities.