Legends of Onam
Celebration of Onam
Just as in the case of many other festivals of India, there are several interesting legends behind the origin of Onam. The festival is celebrated by all in the state of Kerala, but Nambudiri Brahmins of Kerala are the most spirited when it comes to Onam celebrations as they attribute its origin to their own community. Nambudiri also called Namputiri is the dominant caste of Kerala. Its members regard themselves as the true repositories of the ancient Vedic religion and of the traditional Hindu code.Mahabali gradually became a powerful ruler of all the realms heaven and earth, with the able guidance of his guru Shukracharya. The Devas gods saw the rise of the Asura king as a threat. Envious of Mahabali prosperity, the gods approached Vishnu and asked for his help, to which Vishnu agreed.A variation of this story says that Vishnu stopped Mahabali as a boon to Aditi, who was the mother of the Devas. Kashyapa had two wives, Diti and Aditi, who were the parents of the demons and the gods Asuras and Devas respectively.
Kashyapa, who had gone to the Himalayas to do penance, on his return found Aditi weeping for the fall of the Devas and the rise of Asuras. He consoled her, asked her to pray to Vishnu and taught her Payovrata, a ritual that has to be observed from the 12th day of the bright half of Karthika Sukla paksha Dvadasi. Since Aditi carried out the Vrata with a pious heart, Vishnu appeared before her and agreed to help Indra, the king of Devas.Another version of the story says that Mahabali grew pompous, due to the praise and respect by his courtiers and subjects, and came to believe that there was no greater person in the world other than him. Believing himself to be the ruler of the three worlds, he took pride in thinking he could grant anyone whatever they asked. It is said that in order to curb his pride, Vishnu decided to teach Mahabali that the Almighty was still above him.