Festivals of Kerala

The festivals of Kerala, find various festivals and events in Kerala. Best place to visit in Kerala, Holiday in Kerala

The festivals of Kerala are as varied and colorful as its landscape. Vishu is Kerala's New Year Day, which is celebrated in the middle of April. On Vishu day, Kerala looks bright and colorful. Gifts are exchanged and elders give cash presents to younger relatives and friends. In Malayalam it is known as Kaineettam (meaning extending the hand). People throng temples and offer pujas.

Pooram is celebrated during April-May with great enthusiasm at the sprawling ground in front of the Vadakkunathan Temple at Trichur. Pyrotechnics and a procession of elephants on the occasion are witnessed by lakhs of people.

Onam in Kerala

Come harvest time (August-September), it's Onam in Kerala, the picturesque festival celebrated for tour days. According to legend, celebration of Onam is performed to welcome the spirit of the pious King Mahabali and assure him that his subjects are living happily and wish him well. On Thiruonam day, the second and most important day of the four-day festival, the King is supposed to be visiting his Kingdom. Houses are brightly lit to welcome the Royal visitor. Kerala does not sleep. Visits are exchanged and yellow clothes are presented.

Caparisoned elephants (nettipattam) take part in spectacular processions, accompanied by gay singing and dancing. Feasting is also part of the festival whose highlight is the Vallomkali boat race, best seen at Aranmula, Alleppey and Kottayam. Oars dip and flash to the rhythm of weird music and songs coming from giant gondola-type snake-boats. Scarlet silk umbrellas gleam atop each boat. Gold coins and tassels can be seen hanging from these umbrellas. The number of umbrellas represents the affluence of the families owning these boats.

Kaikottikali (dance with clapping hands) is performed by girls in colorful costumes. They dance going round and round the traditional brass lamp. A carpet of flower petals is made in intricate forms where they dance. A magnificent display of fireworks marks the conclusion of the festival at Trichur. Kathakali dancers re-enact stories from the Hindu epics, which is witnessed by large appreciative crowds.

Uisavom is celebrated in a distinctive manner in all big temples in Kerala. The celebrations at the Ernakulam Siva Temple (January-February) for eight days, at the Trivandrum Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple (March - April & October -November) for 10 days each and at the Thiruppunithura Temple (November - December) for eight days are noteworthy.

Procession of elephants, folk dances and music are the highlights of these celebrations, during which the cities and towns wear a festive look. At the Trivandrum temple, on the 9th day, a Pallivetta (hunting) ceremony is held. On the 10th day, the ritual bathing of the deities, known as Aaraattu, takes place. Elaborate poojas are conducted during the Uisavom.

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