Chennai IT girls Onam celebration.

It is not just Kerala, but Malayalis across the country are excited about Onam — the most anticipated festival of Kerala. Communities outside Kerala have got together at their respective places of residence and/or work and are trying in their own way, to celebrate the festival. While legends say the Asura king Lord Mahabali visits his people at this time of the year, Onam is also Kerala’s harvest festival. People make beautiful and intricate designs using flowers at the entrance of their houses to welcome Lord Mahabali. Also popularly associated with the festival is Onam sadhya — the traditional nine-course meal eaten at lunch on Onam. The festival is a melange of laughter and happiness and also becomes the occasion of family get-togethers. While many make it to their hometown in Kerala on time for the celebrations, Malayalis away from home celebrate it in their own way. And the celebrations have already started. Click through to see pictures of people ringing in Onam this year. Here, women celebrate the festival of Onam