Kerala | Know The Popular Festivals In The Culturally-Rich State Of India
Kerala—’God’s Own Country’, is the southernmost state of India, which is symbolic of the country’s rich heritage in the form of—mesmerizing folk-dance forms, the beautifully-sculptured temples, alluring traditions and exquisite festive celebrations.
While the varied dance forms—Kathakali, Mohiniattam, Krishnanattom, Thullal, Koodiyattom, Kolkkali, Thiruvathirakali, etc. possess a majestic appeal to behold the spectators, the grandeur and vibrancy of the multitude of festivals in Kerala leave the attendees speechless.
Moving to Kerala and excited to know about the popular festivals in this culturally-driven state of golden beaches and emerald backwaters? Shortlisted here are some of the well-known festivals of this southern state-
Kerala is well-known for its magnificent temple festivals that commence in the month of November and continue till the middle of May. Each temple hosts its annual celebration (the names of the festivals vary with the names of temples) that is replete with lavishly-decorated temples and elephants, drum roar, dance, music and spectacular firework in sky.
The most famous among these festivals is Thrissur Pooram, which shall be observed on May 13, 2019. This festival that is held at Vadakkunnathan Temple in the city of Thrissur every year, spots an enchanting line-up of vibrantly decked up elephants, and is marked by the kudamattom ceremony—the swift and rhythmic changing of brightly-colored and sequined parasols. The kudamattom ceremony is the heart of all the celebration.
Another high point is the ilanjithara melam, a highly bewitching performance of traditional instruments, which lifts the thousands gathered to a state of exhilaration and bliss. Around 250 odd artists participate in this traditional orchestra led by chenda artistes, and the spirit is mirrored by the thousands of spectators who wave their hands in accordance to the rhythm generated by the chenda, kurumkuzhal, kombu and elathalam (traditional instruments of Kerala). The finale is marked by a grand firework show.
Kerala Boat Festival
The famed Kerala Boat Festival is synonymous to Snake Boat Races in the calm and serene backwaters, where people participate in large numbers amidst the humming of soulful melodies. The prominent boat races that take place in Kerala are:
- Champakkulam Boat Race: The oldest Snake Boat Race that happens in June or July in the Pampa River backwaters. This year, it is scheduled to happen on July 15, 2019.
- Nehru Trophy Boat Race: Regarded as one of the premier boat races, the Nehru Trophy Boat Race is held on the second Saturday of August every year. To see the splendid 100-ft long boats compete is a sight to gasp for!
- Payippad Boat Race: Scheduled to be held on September 13, 2019, the most anticipated Payippad Boat Race is hosted every year in the shimmering backwaters of Payippad to commemorate the installation of the idol of Sree Subramanya at the deity’s temple.
- Aranmula Boat Race: Also known as the Aranmula Uthrittathi Vallamkali, the Aranmula Boat Race is the most ancient and revered boat race of Kerala that shall be hosted on September 15, 2019.
The most fondly-awaited Theyyam Festival is a true reflection of Kerala’s enriched culture that attracts thousands of people worldwide. The festival is celebrated with absolute devotion and faith; and accounts for nearly 400 folk-dance forms, in which the performers dress up in traditional attire, put on artistic masks and adorn themselves with beautiful ornaments. It is solemnized in various regions of Kerala on different dates extending from December 16- February 12.
The most significant 10-days festival of Kerala—Onam is celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm, marking the end of monsoons and the beginning of harvest season. The grand festivities include—
- Tripunithura Athachamayam: The first day of Onam when the exquisitely decorated elephants, and gorgeously dressed dancers and musicians walk down the streets.
- Pookalam: The ritual in which people make ornate designs on floor and then decorate them with different colored flowers, making Onam—the Festival of Flowers.
- Pulikali: The Grand Tiger Dance—a tradition being followed in Kerala since last 200 years. People wear tiger costume and dance to the tunes of folk music.
- Vallamkali: The much-cherished boat race that takes place on the Pampa river in a grand procession, which includes the Nehru Trophy Boat Race.
- Onam Sadya: The distinct Onam Feast is an absolute delight! It’s a nine-course meal that comprises of 11-13 traditional dishes served on a banana leaf.
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