Onam a Hindu festival? An epic Twitter war pitting Mahabali and Vamana
Photo by PTI

According to legend, Asura king Mahabali ruled over Kerala and was loved by the masses. He soon became the powerful king. His popularity made gods insecure and they approached Lord Vishnu to expel Mahabali from the kingdom.

Lord Vishnu agreed to help them and took a form of a Brahmin dwarf called Vamana and approached Mahabali who was performing yagnya (fire sacrifice).

Mahabali promised Vamana to ask for a wish. Vamana asked for three paces of land, after which he grew in stature and his first step covered the sky, second covered netherworld. For the final and third step, Mahabali offered his own head.

Lord Vishnu was impressed and he granted Mahabali a boon which allowed him to visit Kerala once a year. This annual visit is marked as Onam.

However, the annual festival took a war-like turn on Twitter after Delhi Chief Minister extended wishes stating “Best wishes to all of you on the birth anniversary of Lord Vishnu, the fifth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. May the grace of Lord Vishnu be with you all the time.”

The microblogging site was divided over this stance and asserted why Onam is a festival of Mahabali and not Vamana.

A Twitter user's thread explaining the same went viral sparking an outrage on social media.

It read, “This tweet created a lot of burn for all sorts of regional bigots, Marxists & pseudo atheist anti Hindu haters from a region. They all declared that Onam is not Vamana Jayanti. But they are wrong. For once in his life, Kejriwal is right.”

A counter thread by another Twitter user explained why Onam is not a Hindu festival.

The tweet read, “Onam is not a Hindu festival. Onam is not a monolithic festival. It's a Malayali Harvest festival. Onam belongs to everyone who was born or has links to Kerala. In the eyes of Asura King Maveli (Mahabali), all Keralites are same regardless of caste & religion.”

Onam festivities, which started from August 22, will continue till September 2. Onam falls in the month of Chingam, which is the first month according to the Malayalam Calendar. The celebrations spread over ten days mark the Malayalam New Year and conclude with Thiruvonam.

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