In a first of its kind, Kerala government will host Onam celebrations at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on 3 September, with President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Vice-President Hamid Ansari in attendance.
The decision to conduct the Onam festivities at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi was taken at the state cabinet meeting on 10 August, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters. Apart from the PM, President and Vice-President, Union Cabinet Ministers, MPs and state ministers will also attend the celebrations which will showcase the state's rich cultural heritage, Vijayan said.
Onam is celebrated to honour King Mahabali, who according to legend, ruled the state once upon a time. It was on this particular day of Thiruvonam in the Malayalam calendar month of Chingam (August-September) when Lord Vishnu took his fifth avatar as Vaamana, appeared in the kingdom of King Mahabali and sent him to the netherworld. It is believed that on Thiruvonam day, the spirit of King Mahabali visits the people of the state.
Flower mats (Pookalam) are laid in houses and family members enjoy a grand feast (Onasadya). The Thiru Onam falls on 14 September, this year.