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Psychological Significance of Onam

Nithin A.F, Consultant Psychologist, SUT Hospital, Pattom

Almost every important celebration in every culture has some psychological influence and message behind it for mankind. Onam, one of the most popular festivals of India also has such a great impact on us knowingly or unknowingly. We often are not aware of the reason and purpose of many things that we follow traditionally. Even though, we are still following all these rituals. A keen observation reveals that there is a truth and a reason behind all rituals. The psychological significance of mythological stories is that it helps each person to improve their life. Anyone who has a serious perspective on their life can make their behaviour and personality more effective in such a way.

It is believed that there exists a metaphysical perfect world where there is no lie, cheat, injustice and corruption, gives us a great hope for our lives. Each individual must strive for that perfection. All communication and interactions with others need to be honest. The fundamental problem in today’s society is that lying without reason and treating others in different way than actual thing in mind (hypocrites-self-deception). A close observation shows that this lie and self-deception not only affects our personal life, family life or social life but also affects the economic and political regions.

The crooked way to protect selfish interests strategically, decreases mutual trust in our society. This shows a deviation from the world system represented by Onam. This condition can be seen in all regions around us. If it continues, our society will reach in a terrible state where there is no mutual trust. This will mostly affect the financial sector. Due to the lack of mutual trust in transactions, we can already see huge losses and less growth. And another area that is going to be affected is politics, where the gap between what is said and what is done and the implementation of inappropriate things leads to a loss of trust. It is a very serious and silent killer. No revolutionary social change is feasible in this regard. Rather, each of us needs to bring change in our personal lives. So we can also be a part in building a perfect world.

Onam is also a gathering of relationships. Life has a meaning when we go to relatives’ houses, maintain brotherly love and spend time with them. This is the first complete Onam after covid. So engaging in as much direct social interaction as possible can make our mechanical lives a little more purposeful. These celebrations should not be limited to us and we should try to reach out to others. Posting a photo of the celebration on social media cannot consider as a real Onam. We should live in an offline life instead of online life. So during this Onam celebration, we should be able to understand that life is not about momentary pleasure and happiness but has a meaning and a purpose. It must begin with our family and sibling relationships. If life is to have meaning, family and sibling relationships must become more functional. Onam celebrations are a great opportunity for that.

So make this Onam more meaningful and purposeful. We hope this Onam festival be a chance for each of us to have good mental health.