Happy Onam 2020: Covid-19 pandemic sees low-key celebrations in Kerala

Onam 2020: Large-scale celebrations were missing this year as the people largely celebrated Thiruvonam indoors to commemorate the visit of the kind-hearted King Mahabali to the lands and people he previously ruled.
Chikmagalur: A Keralite woman makes 'Pookalam' (flower rangoli) on the occasion of Onam festival, Chikmagalur in Karnataka on Monday.(PTI)
Chikmagalur: A Keralite woman makes 'Pookalam' (flower rangoli) on the occasion of Onam festival, Chikmagalur in Karnataka on Monday.(PTI)
Updated on Aug 31, 2020 04:50 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Delhi | By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Saumya Sharma

Keralites are celebrating a low-key Onam today amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Large-scale celebrations were missing this year as the people largely celebrated Thiruvonam indoors to commemorate the visit of the kind-hearted King Mahabali to the lands and people he previously ruled.

According to Vaishnava mythology, King Mahabali had defeated the Gods and become the ruler of the three worlds. A demon king, King Mahabali belonged to the Asura tribe. The benevolent king was loved by his people. The Gods, upon seeing this, got insecure and asked Lord Vishnu to step in and help contain the situation. Lord Vishnu took the form of the Brahmin dwarf Vamana, his fifth avatar, and visited King Mahabali. However, the latter was able to impress Lord Vishnu by his act of selflessness to protect his people, which led the Lord to grant King Mahabali the right to visit his kingdom and people every year on Onam henceforth.

Bengaluru: Keralites make 'Pookalam' as they celebrate on the eve of Thiru Onam festival, in Bengaluru, Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020. (PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak) (PTI)
Bengaluru: Keralites make 'Pookalam' as they celebrate on the eve of Thiru Onam festival, in Bengaluru, Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020. (PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak) (PTI)

Adhering to Covid-19 protocols, households were adorned with extremely beautiful floral carpets and splendid feasts (Onasadya) were prepared on Thiruvonam day today.

However, display of traditional art forms and games was not organised in villages and towns in the state.

The Atham festival, which heralds the start of the 10-day Onam festivities, was also held in the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic. The tenth day or Thiruonam is the main day of the festivities but has also seen low-key celebrations.

President Ramnath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan were among those who extended their greetings for the harvest festival of Onam.

Thiruvananthapuram, India – August 30, 2020: A man dressed as King Mahabali at Chalai Market on the eve of Onam festival in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India, on Sunday, August 30, 2020. (Vivek R Nair/ Hindustan Times)
Thiruvananthapuram, India – August 30, 2020: A man dressed as King Mahabali at Chalai Market on the eve of Onam festival in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India, on Sunday, August 30, 2020. (Vivek R Nair/ Hindustan Times)

Extending his wishes, Vijayan had yesterday said Onam was a festival of hope and asked the people to celebrate it in line with the Covid-19 protocol.

Kerela Tourism also took to Twitter to share a video of a family enjoying the Onam Sadhya, where people can be seen eating a variety of dishes served on a banana leaf.

In 2018 and 2019 also, Onam celebrations were dampened by the devastating floods in parts of the state.

-- with PTI inputs

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Wednesday, October 27, 2021