Celebrating the rice harvest, Onam is one of the three primary Hindu celebrations, along with Vishu and Thiruvathira. Originating in the Indian state of Kerala, the legend goes that King Mahabali brought forth a golden era during his reign over Kerala. Despite his ego, he passed a test set forth by Vishnu, proving his devotion to his people and lands, and so he is allowed to visit Kerala again once every year. Onam celebrates Mahabali’s annual homecoming through a ten-day festival that includes a variety of traditions such as Vallam Kali (boat races), Pulikali (tiger dances), Onathallu (martial arts), and a nine-course vegetarian feast called Onasadya on the last day. The festival takes place 10 days before Thiru Onam, during the month of Chingam (which typically falls between August and September).
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