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Fairs & Festivals of Kerala


The colorful mosaic of Kerala festivals and fairs is as diverse as the land, is an expression of the spirit of celebration, that is an essential part of the State. Observed with enthusiasm and gaiety, festivals are like gems, ornamenting the crown of Kerala tradition and culture. Round the year the fests keep Kerala life vibrant and interludes in the mundane affairs of life.

Every season turns up new festivals, each a true celebration of the bounties of nature. The festivals exhibits an eternal harmony of spirit. Packed with fun and excitement, festivals are occasions to clean and decorate houses, to get together with friends and relatives and to exchange gifts.

Aaranmula Boat Race
The Aaranmula Boat Race is staged each year in the scenic village of Aaranmula in August/ September. This river carnival is part of the Aaranmula Temple festival. Masses throng the shores of the River Pamba to watch an imposing cluster of snake boats called 'Palliyodams'.

Cochin Carnival
Cochin Carnival is a merry making feast observed during the last week of every year in Fort Kochi in Kerala. The carnival dates back to the Portuguese New Year revelry held here during the colonial days.

Muharram
Muharram is the opening month of the Hijra year. The 10th day of this month (May) is honoured by the Muslims of Kerala. As per belief, it was on this day that the Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed, and his men were slain at Karbala.

Onam
Onam, the harvest festival is the most popular festival of Kerala. A festival that celebrates a happy blend of myth and reality, Onam is part of the cultural repertoire of every Malayalee.

Sabarimala Festival
The Sabarimala Temple festival is celebrated in honour of Lord Ayyapa who is revered by all in India. Sabarimala is a renowned pilgrim centre atop the rugged hills of the Western Ghats. This holy shrine is dedicated to Lord Ayappa. The main pilgrimage is undertaken between November and January.

Nehru Trophy Boat Race
Nehru Trophy Boat Race is the most famous of the boat races of Kerala. This annual regatta is held on the Punnamada Backwaters of Alappuzha district on the second Saturday of August.

Malabar Mahotsavam
Malabar Mahotsavam is a cultural extravaganza that showcases the centuries old rich cultural heritage of Kerala. The event is at Mananchira maidan (ground) in the heart of Kozhikode town from 13th to 16th January every year.

Swathi Festival
Swathi festival is a gala event of music organised by the Government of Kerala every year in the last week of January. The venue is the famous Kuthiramalika Palace. Thiruvananthapuram, where once upon a time the great poet-king of Travancore, Sri Swathi Thirunal, composed many of his verses.

Aarattu
Pallivetta (Royal Hunt) and Arattu (Holy Bath) are part of the rituals of the festivals of some of the major temples of Kerala. The speciality of the Arattu at the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram is that the head of the royal family of erstwhile Travancore still provides escort to the procession of idols. The two annual ten-day festivals of the temple fall in October- November and March- April.

Jagannatha Festival
Jagannatha Festival is a colourful eight-day festival, which is held in the Malayalam month of Kumbham (February/ March) at the Jagannatha Temple at Madathiparambu, near Thalassery in Kannur.

Aattachamayam
The festival of Attachamayam is held on the Atham day of the Malayalam month of Chingam (August/ September), at the historical town of Tripunithura, near Kochi. It is a celebration of a legendary victory of the Raja of Kochi.

Indira Gandhi Boat Race
Indira Gandhi Boat Race is a grand fest on the rolling backwaters of Kochi. Conducted in the last week of December, it is a fitting finale to the Tourism Fair, which attracts travellers from all parts of the globe.

Thirunakara Festival
The Thirunakara Temple situated in the heart of Kottayam and dedicated to Lord Siva is also famous for the grandeur of its traditional architecture.

Vettukadu Perunal
The Madre De Teus Church, popularly known as Vettukadu church, is situated around 7 kms from Thiruvananthapuram. The annual festival of the church is celebrated over the ten days culminating in the last Sunday of the laturgical year. Various religious rites are carried out during the festival days.

Nisha Gandhi Dance Festival
Every year, from February 21st to 27th renowned classical dancers perform at the Nisangandhi, an open air theatre in Thiruvananthapuram city. Classical dances of almost all the states of India are staged during the festival. Mohiniyattam (Kerala), Bharatha Natyam (Tamil Nadu), Kutchippudi (Andhra Pradesh), Odissi (Orissa), Manipuri (Manipur) and Kathak (a north Indian Classical Dance) are the major dances performed.

Oachirakkali
The Oachira Temple is the venue of the famous Oachirakkali (Oachira dance) held in June, a sort of ancient choreographed mock battle. Unlike other temples, there is no shrine or idol at the oachira temple, located nearly 32 kms from Kollam.

Easter
Easter which falls in April is a major religious festival for the Christians in Kerala. This solemn celebration of the resurrection of Christ is undertaken with religious fervour by Christians of all sects. Unlike Christmas with its festive mood, Easter has a ritualistic sobriet. The abstinence period of 50 days preceding Easter known as 'Lent', the Pal Sunday celebrations, the Holy Week comprising Maundy Thursday, good Friday and Easter, are all part of the celebrations.

 

 

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