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