Staten Island Hindu Temple Invites Borough Residents to Join in Onam Festival

September 16, 2006

Source: Staten Island Advance

On September 16, 2006 the Staten Island Advance reported, "Onam is one of the national festivals of India. Its origins are in the state of Kerala, which lies on the southwestern tip of the Indian subcontinent. People of Kerala residing all over the world observe Onam on a grand scale. The holiday falls during August or September every year. Members of the Staten Island Hindu Temple has invited borough residents to take part in the festival with them today in their Sunnyside house of worship... Sociologists and anthropologists attach many theories to the origin of Onam. The main occupation of the people of Kerala was agriculture and farming, and the festival period is considered to be a time for relaxation after their hard work. The festival also praises the existence of a society where everybody enjoyed equality and perfect happiness... People of Kerala believe that for all the good deeds done by Mahabali, [the grandson of Prahlada and son of Virochana, and lord of three worlds], God granted him the boon that he could annually visit his subjects -- the people of Kerala to whom he was so attached. The visit of Mahabali is celebrated as 'Onam' every year. People make ground preparations to celebrate the festival by wearing new clothes, cooking sumptuous feasts and decorating their homes with fresh flowers to impress upon their dear king that they are happy and wish him well."