Onam, the most popular and spectacular festival of Kerala, is being celebrated with great gusto in Mumbai today. It is a thanksgiving festival, in commemoration of a glorious past, and as a tribute to the sacrifice of demon king Mahabali, who was noble and virtuous, and highly regarded by his subjects. The gods saw him as a threat to their supremacy, and brought an end to his reign by conniving and sending him to the netherworld.
Lord Vishnu, however, allowed King Mahabali to return and visit his people once a year. And that is when Onam is celebrated.
However, the spirit of the grand festival today is the Onam feast, prepared on the last day of Onam celebrations, the "Thiruvonam" star day. The feast is also called "Thiruvonasadya." All the visits to the temples, participating and attending cultural programs, and spending time with relatives and friends, are incomplete without gastronomic indulgences.