In kerala, life is a celebration. Just browse through the kerala calendar, it will reveal that this is a land where the festivals never end, adding to the magnificance of the festivals of kerala are fleets of caparisoned elephants, mounted by men holding white plumes swaying in the air the - most breathtaking of kerals's visual wonders. While there is no dearth of festivals in the state, the excitement speaks during the season of onam, exemplified in the legendary boat races and the week - long festivities, understandably, all these celebrations take place with a lot of fanfare.
The spirit of secularism is manifested in the harmonious milieu of Kerala. People of Kerala have a reason to celebrate each moment of life gleefully marked with festivities. Gaiety, zesty fervor, excitement and jubilation are intricately woven in the festivals celebrated in Kerala. These remarkable Festivals of Kerala bring the people of different religion, sect, caste and creed on a common platform. This God's Own Country is a place where festivities never comes to an end. Each season is hailed with an extravaganza of pleasure and merry making.
Some of the well known festivals of Kearla are:
Celebrated with great fervor and gaiety, the festival of Onam is observed by all sects of Keralites irrespective of their religion. This harvest festival, annually celebrated in the month of August ? September, includes lavish feasting like 'avial'', 'pappadum' 'pazham' (Plantation fruit), 'payasams' and swinging under the mango tree. This festival has an affiliation with folklore also which holds that Onam is the time when Mahabali, a legendary ruler in ancient eras of Kerala, returns to meet his loving subjects from the depths of chthonic world. Some extinct folktales 'kaikottikkaali' 'thiruvathirakkali' 'vallomkali' 'pulikkali' 'onathullu' Kummattikkali and many other localized folklore forms revive during this festival.
This festival is celebrated almost in whole India though it may called by different names like Bihu in Assam, Baisakhi in Punjab and Puthandu in Tamil Nadu. Vishu heralds an fresh new year and so is observed on the first day of the Malayalam month Medam (Aries). Early dawns are marked with illuminated lamps, fresh fruits, fragrant flowers, grains and gold coins. Elder members of the family bless the younger ones with blessings and money. Grand feasting and display of fireworks is an integral part of the festival.
Thrissur Pooram (Festival Calender)
This festival held at Thekinkadu Maidan at Thrissur in the month of May.
Highlights: Pageant of 30 caparisoned elephants assembled in the precincts of the vadakumnathan temple. The nearby paramekavu and thiruvambadi temples are also participants in the festival. Kudamattam (changing of umbralla from hands to hands) Chendamelain ( kind of drums) Panchavadyam ( five typical instruments played) Spectacular fireworks display
Nehru Trophy Boat Race (Allepey) (Festival Calender)
This is the greatest event on the backwaters of kerala, is held on the second saturday of august every year. Magnificent snakeboats compete for the prized trophy which was instituted by jawaharlal nehru, the first prime minister of india.
Highlights: Ceremonial water procession, Spectacular water floats, Decorated boats, Vanchipattu, Races of smaller country crafts, Chundanvellom race.
Deepavali (Festival Calender)
Another national festival. Deepavali means the festival of lights. There are many legends connected with the festival. Some say that it is a celebration of sree krishna's victory over the demon narakasura; others hold that it is the day sree rama returned from exile.
Aranmula Vallamkali (Festival Calender)
10 km from chengannur. This traditional boat race conducted at sree parthasarathy temple, aranmula in connection with the onam celebrations is more of a water fiesta than a competition.
Christmas (Festival Calender)
Indira Gandhi Boat Race Festival, Kerala Christmas is celebrated with equal enthusiasm by all communities in kerala.
Highlights: Stars decorate houses right from the second week of december. Christmas trees, decoration and festive music ring through the state. Midnight mass and special rites at all christian churches. Social and cultural events. Fireworks and colourful illuminations.
Indira Gandhi Boat Race (Festival Calender)
Indira gandhi boat race on the cochin backwaters. The race is organised as part of celebration cochin.
Highlights : Over sixteen snake boats participate in this scintillating event.
Makaravilakku (Festival Calender)
Makaravilakku at sree dharamasastha temple, sabarimala. This is one of the few occasions when the temple is open to the public.
Highlights : On the evening of makara sankranthi, the makara vilakku/makara jyothi ( the light of kakara) is believed to be seen on the eastern horizon. Thousands of pilgrims gather here to witness the event. Special devotional rites Devotees are decreed to practise severe austerities and total abstinence for 60 days before climbing the hills to the temple.