Onam is currently the theme of Kerala. Pookalam, folk dances, Onam Sadhya, Puli Kali will welcome you with open arms in to God’s own country if you visit the state now. The ten-day long festival is marked with grand celebrations in Kerala. Thiruvonam is the main day out of the ten-days and Malayalees celebrate the day with grand festivities. The auspicious day is marked with cultural dances, special prayers, boat race, the 9-course meal, pookalam among many others. Each day of the festival has its own importance and is celebrated accordingly in the state. Onam also marks the beginning of Malayalam New Year in which Chingam is the first month. The month of Chingam is considered auspicious as  festivals like Sri Krishna Jayanti, Ganesh Chaturthi and Onam fall in the same month. ALSO READ- Happy Onam 2016 Messages, Wishes

The harvest festival also marks the yearly visit of the mighty King Mahablali who visits his subjects whom he once ruled. During his regime, the land that today forms the state of Kerala, witnessed one of its prosperous era. Mahabali was a King who never divided his people on the basis of caste, creed or religion. During his rule, the kingdom had everything in bountiful. Theft, jealousy, cheating was nowhere to be found under the great king’s time. But as nothing good stays for long, the Gods who considered the power of Mahabali as threat, approached Lord Vishnu for help. The Gods thought that Mahabli would once capture the heavens with his growing power. Lord Vishnu, considering their plea, disguised himself as Vamana, an young Brahmin and went to King Mahabali, who welcomed him warmly. (ALSO READ- Onam Special Pookalam: 10 beautiful Pookalam designs for Onam 2016)

Mahabali asked Vamana to ask for anything he wished to which he asked for three-feet of land. Soon after, Lord Vishnu started growing in size and placed his first feet on the earth, with second feet he claimed the heavens, with no land left, Mahabali offered his head for Vishnu for third feet. He was sent to netherworld before which he asked for a day to visit his subjects. He urged Lord Vishnu to let him visit his people on the first month of Malayalam new year- Chingam. Thus the day is celebrated by people of all religion in Kerala. People gear up for the festival with enormous festivities in the state.

Here are 13 Onam messages in Malayalam especially for Malayalees  across the globe who are all geared up to celebrate the festival. You can also send these messages to your Malayalee friends!(ALSO READ- Onam 2016: These traditional Kerala attires combined with intricate jewellery can give you a to-die-for look!)

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1. Ormakal koodu koottiya manessinte, thalir chillayil, niRamullaormakalumayi oru onam koodivaravayi. Happy Onam

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2. Keraliya thanima thottunarthunna, malayalikalude hrudayathe, pookkalam kondu theerkkunna, naavil ruchiyeriya vibhvangalumayi,
ee ponnonathe varavelkaam. Happy Onam.

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3. Ethudhoosara sankalpangalil, valarnalum Ethuyanthra valkritha, lokathil pularnalum Manassilundavatte, gramathin velichavumManavum, Mamathayum ithiri thumpappoovum. Happy ONAM

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4. Onam pirakarayi Orumayude, Nanmayude aaghoshangalude Malayalikalude swantham Onam varavayi

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5. O–ORumayude N–Nanmayude A–AGhoshangalude M–Malayaliyude Onam Varavayi ! Happy ONAM!

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6. Kalaminiyumurulumvishu, varumVarsham varum, thiruvonam varumPinneyoro, thalirilum poo varum kai varum, Appozharennumenthennum aarkariyam ENJOY THIS ONAM!

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7. Aishwaryavum Samriddiyum Niranja, nalla nalukal ennum undavatte oppam, manassil snehathinte oru onam. Happy Onam

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8. Oru thumbapoovinte chiriyayi chinga, nilavinte thilakkamayi sundara, swapnangalude therileri ponnonam, varavayi Happy Onam Snehathinteyum, sahodaryathinteyum oru onam koodi varavayi.

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9. Akoshikkanay Jenicha Ella Malayalikalkkum, Ente Onakkalikaludeyum Onappurathinteyum, Onathallinteyum Orayiram , Onashamsakal Nerunnu Happy Onam.

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10. Keraliya thanima thottunarthunna, malayalikalude hrudayathe, pookkalam kondu theerkkunna, naavil ruchiyeriya vibhvangalumayi,  ee ponnonathe varavelkaam. Happy Onam.

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11. Pookkalavum, pooviliyum, onakkodiyum, onasadhyayumayi oru onam koodiHappy onam.

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12. Gramathinte nishkalankathayum pazhayakalthinte, nanutha ormakalum nammude ellavarudeyum, manassilekku oru snehasparsamayi ee, Onam kadannuvaratteyenu njan asamsikkunnu.

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13. Nirapparayum nilavilakkum, manasil orupidesnehavumaye, Onam varavaye Onasamsakal!

Traditional dance forms and folk arts are performed on this day. Puli Kali (Tiger Play) is a major attraction in Kerala during Onam celebrations. Men paint their bodies to look like lions or tigers and dances to drum tunes. The dances are performed in temple grounds and on steets. The men play a game of hide-and-seek in which three to four men dress as tigers while another one becomes the hunter. It shows fight between the tiger and hunter in the jungle. Temple also hold procession of elephants with colorful umbrella which is worth a watch. Thrikkakara temple in Ernakulam district becomes the centre of attraction for Onam celebrations. The place is believed to be where Lord Vishnu stepped on King Mahabali’s head and pushed him down to netherworld. Cultural performances, dance, music can be witnessed at Thrikkakara temple on all the ten days of Onam. (ALSO READ- Onam 2016 Songs: Top 10 Malayalam Songs to celebrate Onam this year)

Boat race is another attraction of Kerala during Onam. Aranmula boat race is the most famous one which attracts thousands of spectators. The boat race began after a man promised to provide Onam feats to the devotees at Aranmula Parthasarathy temple. Following which food was send across boats for the offerings. But the boat was attack after which men accompanied it. The tradition continued to be modified as boat race today. The lunch includes 26 dishes which consist of mix of different vegetables to make lip-smacking dishes. It also includes payasam (kheer) is a sweet relished by Malayalees all over the world. While generally Malayalees stick to vegetarian food on the day, North Keralities prefer to have meat and fish on the day of Thiruvonam. (ALSO READ: Onam 2016: Flower prices shoot up in wholesale market ahead of festival)

Kerala receives a lot of tourist during the Onam season. Foreigners come to the state to witness the elaborate celebrations. Kerala tourism also takes equal effort in making the state look the best on the day of celebration. The tourism department makes arrangement for a week-long celebrations at various places in the Kerala’s capital city of Trivandrum. The festivities include cultural shows, food stall, folk art, handicraft exhibition, classical dance and many more. (Image Credits-Jyoti Desale)

We at India.com wish you a Happy Onam and hope you have a blast!