Onam, the vibrant and colorful festival of Kerala, is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervor by Malayalis across the world. But is Onam a national holiday? Let’s delve into this topic and understand its significance.
What is Onam?
Onam is a traditional ten-day harvest festival that marks the homecoming of the mythical King Mahabali. It’s a celebration of good over evil, and of hope and prosperity. The festival is characterized by elaborate feasts, boat races, traditional dances like Thiruvathira and Pulikali, and the creation of intricate flower carpets called ‘Pookalam’.
Is Onam a National Holiday?
While Onam holds immense significance for the people of Kerala, it is not a national holiday in India. However, it is a state holiday in Kerala, meaning offices, schools, and most businesses in the state remain closed on Thiru Onam, the most important day of the festival. In other parts of India, while Onam might be celebrated, especially by Malayali communities, it doesn’t come with a holiday.
Why Onam’s Recognition Matters?
Onam’s recognition as a state holiday in Kerala underscores the cultural and historical importance of the festival for Malayalis. The festival is not just a religious occasion but is celebrated by people of all religions and communities in Kerala, emphasizing the secular fabric of the state.
Onam in the Digital Age
With the advent of the digital age and the widespread use of social media, Onam has transcended Kerala’s borders. Many people, irrespective of their cultural or regional backgrounds, now participate in Onam celebrations virtually. This has led to a greater recognition of the festival on a national and even international scale.