The importance of the feast to the Kerala's Onam celebration culture is captured in the famous Malayalam proverb: Kaanam Vittum Onam Unnanam - which means: One must have the Onam lunch even by selling one's property, if need be.
Onam is the most popular festival in Kerala. It can be traced to the primitive harvest festival and also to the myth regarding King Mahabali - the benevolent asura ruler who brought peace and prosperity to his country. It is celebrated in August and September.
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