M.A.Center, Washington DC

Onam Celebrations

Onam Celebrations.
Onam Celebration - Sep 7, 2019 11 AM.
Sep 7, 2019 11:00am-1:00pm (ended)

Join us for Onam Celebrations at M.A. Center DC on September 7, 2019. 


  • 8:00 AM : Lalitha Sahasranamah Archana
  • 11:00 AM: Onam Celebration and Ganesh Chaturthi Satsang
  • 1:00 PM: Traditional Onam Feast on a Banana leaf

Suggested minimun donation for the feast is $10. Proceeds go towards supporting various Amma charities worldwide. To know more about Amma's charitable activities please visit www.embracingtheworld.org

Please RSVP to info@ammadc.org to estimate the food needed. Thank you so much for your cooperation.

About Onam

The rich cultural heritage of Kerala comes out in its best form and spirit during the ten day long festival. The most impressive part of Onam celebration 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.
Onam is an ancient festival which still survives in the Modern times. It falls on the Malayalam month of Chingam and celebrates the annual visit from pathalam (underworld) of the very noble Demon King Maveli. Onam is unique since king Maveli is revered by people of Kerala from prehistory.
According to the legend, Kerala witnessed its golden era during the reign of King Mahabali. Everybody in the state was happy and prosperous and the king was highly regarded by his subjects. He was that highly regarded among the subjects that even the Gods under Indra became jealous of Mahabali, they approached Mahavishnu claiming that Mahabali is now equivalent to an Indra. Since a world with two Indras represents imbalance, Mahavishnu assumed the form of a dwarf: the Vamana avatara had tricked him to Pathalam, the Underworld. However, as Mahabali is equal to an Indra, he is to wait until the next Yuga where he would be the Indra. In the meantime, with the grace of Mahavishnu, Mahabali visits his people on an annual basis. Mahavishnu serves Mahabali as a gatekeeper in the world of Pathalam as the Lord himself serves his greatest devotees.

It is this visit of Mahabali that is celebrated as Onam every year. People including children celebrate the festival in a grand way and impress upon their dear King that they are happy and wish him well.
Another enchanting feature of Onam is Vallamkali, the Snake Boat Race, held on the river Pampa. It is a colourful sight to watch the decorated boat oared by hundreds of boatmen amidst chanting of songs and cheering by spectators and viewers.

There is also a tradition to play games, collectively called Onakalikal, on Onam. Men go in for rigorous sports like Talappanthukali (played with a ball), Ambeyyal (Archery), Kutukutu and combats called Kayyankali and Attakalam. Women indulge in cultural activities.

They make intricately designed flower mats called, Pookalam for 10 days in the front courtyard of the house to welcome King Mahabali.

Thiruvathira kali and Thumbi Thullal are two graceful dances performed by women on Onam. Folk performances like Kummatti kali and Pulikali add to the zest of celebrations.