India is a country of fairs and festivals and Kerala is not different from this. Beside the main festivals that are celebrated all over India, there are many localfestivals of Kerala which show the rich and distinct culture of the God's Own Country by mixing cheer, fun and pleasure. So take a close glimpse at the Kerala fairs and festivals which could be classified into religious festivals, harvest festivals, temple festivals and more. High points or features of the exciting Kerala fairs and festivals are mentioned below in brief
Top Fairs and Festivals in Kerala
01 : Onam
Onam is the largest or the traditional ten day harvest festival of Kerala celebrated in the month of August - September (starting of the Chingam month of Malayalam Calendar) with much grandeur and fanfare. No wonder the king of festivals in Kerala “Onam” continue its charm and rituals from first to ten days, but first day, “Atham” and tenth day, “Thiruonam” are most significant of all.
The celebration of Onam is commonly noted with flower decorations or fine designs of carpets of flowers in front of the houses, elephant processions, classical and folk music concerts, classical and folk dance performances or Kathakali dances, cultural spectacle or contests, water carnivals, fireworks, sports, games, Vallamkali-the famous snake boat race, superb feast called Ona Sadya and much more which enthrall not only Keralites or Indian tourists as well as foreign tourists to visit Kerala and be a part of Onam. Because of its grandeur or fame, rich culture and heritage and colourfulness the state government promotes Onam festival internationally in a huge way and celebrates “Tourist Week” for Kerala at the time of Onam celebration.
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02 : Vishu
Vishu festival is the astrological New Year of Kerala celebrated in the month of April (first day of Malayalam month - Medam) is treated as good, lucky or fortunate day. There are many traditional vibrant rituals and customs performed by Keralites on Vishu day with fun, pleasure and happinessbut some of the major glimpse of Vishu festival are:Vishukani, Vishukaineetam and Vishu pulari.
“Vishukani” is a collection of many prosperous things such as grains, vegetables( cucumber, tender mango, jackfruit),fruits,lamp (Nilavilakku), Konna flowers,coconut, gold, mirror, Ramayana or Bhagavad-Gita (Hindu holy books) etc. are arranged in a huge uruli (a circular plate made of panchaloham - five metals) with the picture of Lord Krishna in the puja room. The arrangement of the Vishukani is finished with huge care in the previous evening by the lady of the house.
“Vishu pulari” (dawn of Vishu day) is a ritual to wake up very early morning and go to puja room with the eyes closed so that the first thing a person looks is the divine darshan of God with Vishukani. This ritual is noted as “Kanikanal”.It is considered that at Vishu pulari (dawn of the prosperous Vishu day) one should watch the Vishukani have affluent, successful and peaceful year ahead.
“Vishukaineetam” is also a ritual in which head of the family or elder people distributed coin to children or younger or servants and other workers to wish them good fortune or luck. On this day some people provide Vishukaineetam as notes, on behalf of coins. It is really pleasant to watch each other how much each one has got a collection of Vishukaineetam amount.
Behind all these Vishu celebration is unfinished withoutcrackers and Vishu Sadya exists of vishu katta / vishu kanji prepared with rice, milk and coconut and other delicacies prepared with jack fruit, mango, kalan etc.
03 : Thrissur Pooram
Thrissur Pooram is one of the wonderful and vibrant temple festivals of Keralacelebrated in the Malayalam month of Medam, which generally comes in April or May. It is a time for the two traditional groups “Paramekkavu” and “Thiruvambadi” to present or showtheir majesty or grandiosity by contesting or challenging with each other in terms of the clothed elephants and umbrellas.
On the day before the closing of the Pooram the groups get in the Vadakumnatha temple through the western gate and come out through the southern gate to parade and hadface to face. No wonder clothed or dressed elephants and the exchange of umbrellas,glowing or astonishingfireworksthat continue till the dawn of the next finished day, alluring and appealing music of Panchavadyam (a combination of five percussion and wind instruments) and much more are really beautiful, stunning and mesmerizing.
The prominent places that are noted for grand Pooram celebrations are as follow: Aratupuzha, Uthralikavu, Cheeramkulangara, Thrissur, Mannarkad, Perumanam, Pariyanampetta, Aryankavu, Mangottu, Kodikal, Medamkulangara and Thirumandhamkunnu. But the traditional groups that represent the major elements of Thrissur Pooram are Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi.
04 : Aranmula Snake Boat Race
Aranmula Boat Race is one of the divine or enjoyable religious fairsheld annually, usually during Septemberon Pampa River in Kuttanad region at Aranmula.This fair includes 30-40 snake boats (snake boats are named because of their shape rather than the living snake) racing against each other on Pampa River against the scenery of the 1,700-year-old Aranmula temple devoted to Sree Parthasarathy (the epitome of Lord Krishna in the form of Arjuna’s charioteer),traditionally dressed rowers come along by groups of 25 singers are really amazing and mesmerizing.
No wonder thousand of on lookers position themselves on the banks of the Pampa River near the temple in Aranmula for witness the wonderful or remarkable event.
05 : Nehru Trophy Boat Race
“Nehru Trophy Boat Race” noted as the largest snake boat race in the world held every year on the second Saturday of August at Punnamada Lake near Alleppey is one of the most competitive and famous boat race in “God’s Own Country” and no wonder it is the best time to book
Excluded from the snake boats with 100 to 120 rowers who dig or turn the water to the melody of the famous songs, there are many exclusive features of this event like ritual or formal water procession, wonderful water floats, decorated boats, vanchipattu, races of smaller country crafts, chundanvellom race which enthrall thousands of tourists to visit Alleppey and overwhelmed with an amazing treat.