(Last Updated on : 20-03-2013)
Music and dance forms form an inherent part of the fairs and festivals of Kerala. Traditional festivals in Kerala continue to be as popular as in the ancient days. The most important of them are the week-long Onam celebrations which fall in the month of Chingam (August-September), the first month of Kerala's New Year. The myth of a Golden Age in the past or of a Utopia to come is present in the traditions of many peoples all over the world. In Kerala
, Onam festival is observed in the honour of the legendary King Mahabali. Flower carpets deck the entry of every household. Also a gala feast is and cultural performances are colligated with the festival. The most spectacular aspect of the celebrations of Onam
is the boat race.
Temple Festival is held at the Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala in the Western Ghats of Kerala. The most vital day of this festival is the Makkara Vilakku day. It is believed that on that day a light on a neighbouring hill confirms the arrival of the deity. Among temple festivals, Thrissur Pooram, held at Thrissur
, is the most famous. Dance, merriment, playing with fireworks - all heightens the momentum of the festival to a great extent. Another significant festival of Kerala is Vishu festival, which is ceebrated in April-May when the rains are about to commence. This festival has several rituals associated with it. According to the Malayalam tradition the morning of this day is considered to be very propitious, as it is believed that prosperity prevails throughout the year if one views good things at that particular hour. A great feast at home is the high point of celebrating this festival at home. Gifts are also exchanged.
Tiruvatira, which falls in December-January, is a significant festival for women, especially maidens. On this occasion, women sing songs and make merry by splashing water on one another. The bath continues till the day breaks. Then they return to their houses and put on fine garments. The whole day is spent in relaxation. Folk-dances are also an important aspect of the celebration of this festival. The elephant
procession and fireworks in the Thrissur temple and the procession in Trivandrum where the holy idol is immersed in the sea are also fascinating festivals.
Similar festivals are also held in churches. St. Thomas, the Apostle, is believed to have offered penance at Malayattur in the Western Ghats and the festival in the old church is considered to be one of the most important Christian festivals. All the significant Muslim festivals are observed in Kerala too with the same fervour and enthusiasm as in other parts of the country.
In addition, the Kerala Muslims celebrate some special festivals. The most colourful among these local celebrations is the Chandanakkudam at Beemapally, near Thiruvananthapuram
Kerala is renowned for a wide plethora of colourful festivals. Each and every community and religion has some festival to celebrate throughout the year. Festivals of Kerala also mean a time for special prayers and worship and a time for devotees to assemble religious discourses and cultural programmes. Festivals of the places of worship are programmed in tune with the cultural background and heritage of Keralites. In short, the distinctive ways of celebrating the festivals in Kerala is considered to be the unique feature of its culture.