and Festival of Kerala
and festivals in Kerala is celebrated through out the year to the length
and breadth. Every festival, though connected with religious temples and
shrines, is more of a socio cultural event in which people of all creeds
participate. Today, these festivals are perhaps the only occasions when
the classical, folk and ritual arts of the state come alive. It is also
interesting to note that no celebration in Kerala is complete without
an elephant pageant.
The fair and festivals
of Kerala are vibrant and packed with centuries of unbroken tradition.
They are spectacular, enchanting, colorful, mesmerizing, miraculous display
of fireworks, processions of gold bedecked elephants etc. You'll have
to keep coming back for a lifetime to really witness this myriad range
The dates of these
festivals change every year according to the indigence. There is no better
way of getting to know people and their land than experiencing their festivals.
And Kerala has so many of them, some of Kerala's innumerable festivals,
however, stand out because of their uniqueness.
The Famous Fair and Festival
is the national festival of the Malayalees. It is a festival quite unique
to Kerala. Like all other traditional festivals, the promotion of amity
and social cohesion is the aim of celebrating Onam.
There is a popular
myth associated with Onam. The Gods became jealous of the goodwill enjoyed
by the Asura King Mahabali, the benevolent king of Kerala. So they plotted
a way to get rid of him. Lord Vishnu came down to earth in the guise of
Vamana, a midget. He took advantage of the good king's benevolence and
tricked him into leaving his kingdom and kicked Mahabali to the nether
world. But as a courteous gesture, Lord Vishnu gave Mahabali permission
to visit his kingdom and people once a year. This visit of Mahabali marks
Onam, the festival of plenty .
The main feature of
the festival of Onam is a vociferous welcome to King Mahabali.In millions
of households in Kerala. Onam is symbolized by icons that are literally
earthy. Made of clay or mud, these conical objects are adorned with flowers
and worshipped as Thrikkakara Appan, symbolizing the vamana avatharam
of Lord Vishnu, which is central to the Onam legend.
That Onam is being celebrated in Tirupaty also confirms the fact that
Onam was popular in the southern region before becoming confined to Kerala
after the 10th century AD. Mangudy Marudanar, one of the noted poets of
the Sangam Age, is said to have described the Onam celebrations in the
Pandyan capital of Madurai in one of his poems.
Pooran, the pooram of all Poorams, falls in April every year. It is intrinsically
a people's festival in all respects. It is different from other national
festivals like the Kumbha Mela of Uttar Pradesh, the Vijayadashami pageantry
of Mysore or the Rath Yatra of Orissa. Pooram is participated and conducted
by people cutting across all barriers of religion and caste.
The unique catholic
nature of Pooram could be traced to its genesis two centuries ago when
Sakthan Thampuran (1751-1805), the very architect of Thrissur, became
the ruler of the erstwhile state Kochi. He took up the renovation of the
Vaddakkannathan temple temple complex which was enclosed by high walls.
The four massive gopurams of the temple have been ascribed to him. At
a time when nobody would have dared to look straight at the almighty Namboodiris,
Sakthan Thampuran stripped of their powers and took over the administration
of the temple that claimed an antiquity of more than three centuries.
It was he who made the sprawling Thekkinkadu Maidan the major venue of
Thrissur Pooram. Again, he entrusted the onus of holding the festival
to the two public temples- Tthiruvampadi and Paramekkavu temples that
had never been under the control of the Namboodiris. He himself is said
to have drawn up the 36-hour hectic schedule of the Pooram festival.
Pooram, the mother of all temple festivals in the state, is essentially
one of spectacles. The two devaswams- Thiruvampadi and Paramekkavu- explore
and exploit every source at their command to make this annual festival
a memorable one. It is celebrated with a colourful procession of caparisoned
elephants, parasol exchanges, drum concerts, display of pyro-techniques
and refreshing scenes of public participation. During the festival season,
Thrissur, popularly known as the temple town turns into a town of colour,
music and mirth. The Pooram programmes extending about 36 hours begins
with the ezhunellippu of the Kanimangalam Shasta in the morning and is
followed by the ezhunnellippu of the other six minor temples on the Pooram
Day. The ezhunnellippu programme which is considered to be a ritual sybolising
the visit of the Devi from the Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi temples to
the Vadakkunnathan temple. .
holy Malayattoor Church is one of the most important Christian pilgrim
centres in Kerala. It attracts devotees in very large numbers not only
from Kerala but also from the neighbouring states. This famous church
is situated at Kurisumudi, a verdant hill in the Western Ghats, girdled
partially by the river Periyar.
Legends credit St.
Thomas as having established about seven and a half churches in Kerala
( here half is only indicative of a church smaller in size.) These seven
churches were established at Kodungallur, Palayur, Paravur, Kokomangalam,
Niranam, Chayal, and Kollam. The Malayattoor Church and the Tiruvamcode
Church in the Kanyakumari district of Tamilnadu are considered to be the
half church. But some believe that the Malayattoor Church is one of the
major churches built by St. Thomas and they argue that the churches at
Kokomanagalam and Paravur must be regarded as one.
The first Sunday after
Easter is a very important day at Malayattoor. Pilgrims, chanting the
name of the Apostle, 'Ponninkurisumala Muthappa', climb Kurisumudi, the
steep hill to visit the holy shrine. The Church has a life-size statue
of St. Thomas and the imprint of the feet of the Apostle on a rock.
Nehru Cup Snake
spectacular event, which is the most famous single attraction in Alappuzha,
is held on the second Saturday of every August The Nehru Trophy Snake
Boat Race is a spectacle par excellence and it can be described as the
biggest team sport in the world. It is the queerest display of a rural
culture and rural vitality in a fast urbanizing world. It is Kerala's
greatest tourism event. It is estimated that some two lakh spectators
come to witness this spectacular show on the earth. Not only tourists
from abroad and from other states but locals as well throng the place
to watch the race.
It is called the Nehru
Trophy Boat Race because the Cambridge-educated Jawaharlal Nehru, India's
first Prime Minister offered a trophy if such a race was organized. Thus
began the race for this trophy every year in the backwaters off the canal
town of Alleppey.
Carnival is a merry making feast observed during the last week of every
year in Fort Kochi in Kerala. Its origin goes back to the Portuguese New
Year revelry here during the colonial days. With unique games, competitions
and illumination during these days, Fort Kochi puts on a festive look.
The highlight of the Carnival is the massive procession on the New Year
Day. The procession is led by a caparisoned elephant accompanied by drums
and music, spectacular floats, different folk art forms, Panchavadyam
Indira Gandhi Boat
As part of the tourism
fair celebrated every year during the last week of December, a boat race
is organized at Ernakulam. Several snake boats vie with one another to
win the coveted trophy. This boat race with its heart throbbing rhythm
of drum music provides an unforgettable experience to the spectators.
Christmas and Easter
are the important festivals of Christians. Christmas falls on 25th December
and it commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. Singing carols, setting
up Christmas Trees, exchange of cards and receiving gifts from Santa are
all an integral part of the festivities associated with the birth of Jesus
literally means a string of lights. Thousands of little oil lamps light
up the night, spectacular fireworks decorate the skies and delicious sweets
mark the merry mood of the people are the highlights of this famous national
festival of India. The festival falls in the Malayalam month Thulam (October
Thiruvathira festival falls on the asterism Thiruvathira in the Malayalam
month of Dhanu (December-January). The origin of the festival is shrouded
in obscurity. The people celebrate this festival upon age-old tradition
and they do it with great joy and respect for the past. The Ardra Darshan
celebrated in Tamil Nadu corresponds to Thiruvathira of Kerala. It is
considered to be highly auspicious to worship Shiva and the devotees go
to the temple before sunrise for Darshan. Apart from the worship in the
Shiva temple, there is very little celebration in the houses. Tradition
has it that Thiruvathira festival is celebrated in commemoration of the
death of Kamadeva, the mythological God of Love. According to another
version, Thiruvathira is the birthday of Lord Shiva.
Navarathri, the ten-day festival in honour of Goddess Saraswathy is celebrated
across the nation in October-November. The last three days of the festival
- Durgashtami, Mahanavami, and Vijayadasami are very auspicious and significant.
Easter is as oldest
as Christianity itself. The central tenet of Christianity is not the birth
of Jesus, but his resurrection. The content of Easter was gradually analysed
into historical events and each began to be celebrated on a different
Kerala in Details