|Onam Pookkalam By Ramesh NG [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons|
Vishnu then took the avatar of Vamana – a dwarf Brahmin – and approached Mahabali. Vamana, in the guise of a short Brahman requested three steps of land for him to live in. Given a promise of three steps of land by King Mahabali against the warning given by his Guru Sukracharya, Vamana, the Supreme God assumed a form so huge that he could step from heaven to earth, and earth to the lower worlds in two simple steps. King Mahabali unable to fulfil the promise of three paces of land to the Supreme God offered his head for the third step. In the third step Vamana placed his foot on King Mahabali's head and gave him immortality for his benevolence. Onam is the celebration of the return of Mahabali from underworld.
Carnival of Onam lasts for ten days and brings out the best of Kerala culture and tradition. Some of the remarkable features of the festival are decorated Pookalam, Onasadya, Snake Boat Race and exotic Kaikottikali dance. The central feature of Onam is the grand feast called Onasadya, prepared on Thiruonam. It is a nine-course meal consisting of 11 to 13 essential dishes. Onasadya is served on banana leaves and people sit on a mat laid on the floor to have the meal.
|Snake Boat Race By Arun Sinha from India (Aranmula-boat race- Kerala-India-1) [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons|