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Festivals of Kerala, India
India is a country with intricate ancient culture and numerous community and family oriented traditions. And our festivals reflect the same. We enjoy our festivals whether it means celebrating real or mythological events and participate in fairs and fests with great enthusiasm. We love everything about them, from the joyous camaraderie to the scrumptious food, and most of all, the holidays that accompany them! Almost all festivals across the country involve a healthy concoction of music, dance, colours, flowers and lights. Festivals of Kerala are no different. Here are our picks for the most interesting festivals of Kerala.
The harvest festival of Kerala, Onam is by far the most important and popular festival in this list. It is celebrated for 10 days between August and September by all Malayalis (Malayalam speaking Keralites) irrespective of their religion. According to folklore, Onam is celebrated to commemorate the home coming of the legendary King Mahabali. Children traditionally gather flowers for the home and decorate them on the floor of their verandahs in intricate patterns. Families get together to feast and dance and make merry during this happy festival.
Thrikarthika is a festival celebrated to mark the birth of Lord Subramanya. Similar to the Indian festival of Diwali, Thrikarthika is also known as the festival of lights. This festival is observed in November or December every year. It usually falls on a full moon day and is characterized by the display of lights at homes, in temples and even on the streets.
One of the most important festivals of Kerala, Vishu is celebrated in the month of April. According to the age old Keralan calendar, it is the 1st day of the New Year. The main event of the Vishu celebration is the 'Kani' - a Malayalam word meaning 'that which is seen first.' Coconuts, fruits, grains, and Konna flowers are kept in big pots to prepare the Kani. Behind this pot, a mirror and a garlanded statue of Lord Krishna are placed. According to the local beliefs, if you see an auspicious 'Kani' on Vishu, luck will favour you for the rest of the year!
Thrissur Pooram is the largest community festival of Kerala. It is celebrated over three days sometime between April and May each year. During this festival, the people of Thrissur come together to host a massive number of visitors and over 50 odd elephants! The extravagantly decorated elephants are paraded around the entire town to the rhythmic beating of the native drums. Idols of deities from all temples of the town are taken on the decorated elephants to the main temple. The climax of the festival is the exhibition of thirty of the best elephants and a fantastic fireworks display in the wee hours of the morning.