Festivals of kerala
The spirit of secularism is manifested in the harmonious milieu of Kerala. People of Kerala have a reason to celebrate each moment of life gleefully marked with festivities. Gaiety, zesty fervor, excitement and jubilation are intricately woven in the festivals celebrated in Kerala. These remarkable Festivals of Kerala bring the people of different religion, sect, caste and creed on a common platform. This God's Own Country is a place where festivities never comes to an end. Each season is hailed with an extravaganza of pleasure and merry making.
Some of the well known festivals of Kearla are:
Celebrated with great fervor and gaiety, the festival of Onam is observed by all sects of Keralites irrespective of their religion. This harvest festival, annually celebrated in the month of August - September, includes lavish feasting like 'avial'', 'pappadum' 'pazham' (Plantation fruit), 'payasams' and swinging under the mango tree. This festival has an affiliation with folklore also which holds that Onam is the time when Mahabali, a legendary ruler in ancient eras of Kerala, returns to meet his loving subjects from the depths of chthonic world. Some extinct folktales 'kaikottikkaali' 'thiruvathirakkali' 'vallomkali' 'pulikkali' 'onathullu' Kummattikkali and many other localized folklore forms revive during this festival.
This festival is celebrated almost in whole India though it may called by different names like Bihu in Assam, Baisakhi in Punjab and Puthandu in Tamil Nadu. Vishu heralds an fresh new year and so is observed on the first day of the Malayalam month Medam (Aries). Early dawns are marked with illuminated lamps, fresh fruits, fragrant flowers, grains and gold coins. Elder members of the family bless the younger ones with blessings and money. Grand feasting and display of fireworks is an integral part of the festival.
This popular festival is celebrated in the month of Kumbam i.e. February - March. Special prayers and offerings with holy abhishekam (sacred bath of deity's idols) are done in the temples to pay the humble homage to Lord Shiva for drinking fatal poison to rescue this world. Various cultural programs are held and people of different strata gather to observe the festival.
Known by different names the navaratri celebrations are marked with great enthusiasm. This garnd afair of 9 days becomes more important in the last three days - Durga Ashtami, Mahanavami, and Vijaya Dasami. On Durga Ashtmi's night 'Puja Vayppu' is observed which includes decorating and illuminating the house. Learning and all businesses are held upon for on these three lats days.
This 'Festival of Lights' is to celebrate the victory of Lord Rama on the demon Ravana and Rama's homecoming after an exile of 14 long years. Preparation of dishes, fireworks and decorating the house with lit diyas is significant in this festival.
This festival of display of lights in the evening is celebrated in the month of Vrischikam 'November' December.
Asthami Rohini :
This day to commemorate the birth of Lord Krishna, is observed with admiration and devotion. Celebrated in the month of Chingam (August - September), the devotees visit temples and offer their prayers. Some cultural Prgrames held on this day adds to the charm of the festival.
Come 25th December and the grand celebration of Christmas starts with holy masses in the churches, Christmas carols, decorating Christmas tress, exchanging gifts and cards are all important in Christmas.
This Christian festival commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the savior of mankind. The communities of Kerala observe this festival with reverence and dedication. It generally falls in March - April. Mid night masses are common during Easter.
It celebrates the sacrifice of Ibrahim in order to obey God's command. Muslims in Kerala celebrate the festival heartily with feasting. The affluent Muslims marks the festivities by sacrifing goats and distributing it among their kiths and kins and poor.
Id ul Fitr:
Culmination of Ramzan is celebrated with Id ul Fitr. The sacred month of Ramzan is all about abstaining from food and drink during the day time. After such strict fasting, Muslims celebrate and indulge in feasting. Id ul Fitr is celebrated with much zeal in Kerala as the population of Kerala significantly comprises of Muslims.
This grand celebration in the month of April is to celebrate the birth of the Prophet. In ancient times the day was observed by muslims by reading out Maulud - a short treatsie in Arabic depicting the birth, life, works and preachings of prophet or some saint.
This festival of Muslims marks the herald of new year 'Hijra' on the tenth day of the Forbidden Month, Muharram.
These festivals of Kerala are an evidence of rich traditional and cultural heritage of the state. Each festival marked with equal joy and celebration is much unique.