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  Events and Festivals
Festivals of Kerala
Thitambu Nritham (March)
Thidambu Nritham is a form of dance associated with temple festivals. Believed to be over 600 years old, a typical Thidambu Nritham features a man carrying the decorated image of the presiding deity of the temple. Wearing a skirt of pleated cloth, a silk vest, ornaments and a decorated head gear called Ushnipeetam the dancer moves around outside the sanctum sanctorum. Various stages of dancing are involved and the dancer is usually accompanied by a group of artistes, playing percussions and couple of men holding traditional brass lamps.
Asthami Rohini (August/September)
Ashtami Rohini is observed as the birthday of Lord Krishna. The day is of great importance at Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple, Ambalapuzha Sri Krishnaswami Temple, Thrissur Thirvanmabadi Temple and in thousands of other Sri Krishna Temples in Kerala. Ashtami Rohini procession depicting scenes from the life of Lord Krishna is held all important cities, towns and villages in Kerala on the day. Special concerts, cultural programs and satsangs are also held on the day.
Thrikarthiaka (November/December)
Thrikarthiaka festival is celebrated in the month of Vrischikam (November-December). Display of light in the evening is an integral and unique part of the festival.
Thiruvathira (December/January)
Thiruvathira is celebrated on the asterism Thiruvathira in Dhanu, the fifth month of Malayalese calendar (Kolla Varsham). This corresponds to the month of December-January according to Gregorian calendar. Thiruvathira is essentially women's festival. Ladies on this day worship Lord Shiva and pray for conjugal harmony and marital bliss. The other very interesting facet of the festival is the enchanting Thiruvathirakkali dance performed by women on this day.
Onam (August/September)
Onam is the most important and popular festival of Kerala. Onam is celebrated with lots of fervor and gaiety. All Malayalis, irrespective of their religion, celebrate Onam. It falls in the Malayalam month of Chingam (August-September). Onam is the harvest festival of Kerala. According to legends, Onam is celebrated to commemorate the home coming of Mahabali, the king who ruled over Kerala in the age of plenty and was pushed down to the Patala by Lord Vishnu in the form of Vamana.
Aranmula Vallamkali (August)
The annual water regatta of Aranmula Vallamkali, held at Aranmula in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala is a unique offering to the presiding deity at the Parthasarathy Temple in Aranmula. The water regatta comprises, well-decorated, majestic Palliyodams with about 80 oarsmen on each competing to the ecstatic cheer of the onlookers.
Manarcad Perunnal (September)
Manarcad Perunnal is the occasion celebrating the annual feast at the St. Mary's Church at Manarcad. This festival is generally held September 1-8 every year. Manarcad Perunnal is also known as Ettunombu Perunnal which literally means eight day prayer and fasting. This is the feast of Immaculate Conception celebrated by the Christian community of Kerala.
Navrathri Music Festival (September)
The Navrathri Music Festival is a nine day musical fiesta held in the state of Kerela. During these nine days the evenings of Thiruvananthapuram are filled with exquisite music and honeyed voices echoing in the atmosphere. This cultural, musical, festive fiesta is a remarkable experience for all visitors. People from all across the country gather here during these nine days to witness some of the best works in the field of Music, dance and entertainment.
Neelamperoor Pooram (October)
Neelemperoor Pooram Padayani is held at the precincts of the beautiful temple of Goddess Bhagavathy at Neelemperoor near Kottayam. Padayani is a symbolic victory march of Goddess Kaali after vanquishing Darika. During the pooram festival, decorated motifs of Swans; both large and small, form part of the Kettukazcha the symbolic offering made to the Goddess. These are then carried in a procession, on the main day of the festival in which bigger ones are moved on platforms with wooden wheels and smaller ones carried on the shoulders of devotees. A unique aspect of the motif decoration here at Neelemperoor is the sourcing of different colours. The required colours are taken from the surroundings, in the form of leaves, flower petals, parts of the coconut tree and other local plant varieties.
Payippad Boat Race (August/September)
Payippad boat race is a spectacular event that is held every year in the month of either August or September. In Kerala, Payippad boat race is a major event that draws a huge crowd from all nearby places. The Payippad boat race of Kerala is held in Payippadu near Harippad in Kerala. The boat race is a time to have fun and indulge in festivity in galore.
Vallarpadam Perunnal (September)
St. Mary’s church is an extremely popular catholic church located in Ernakulam, Kerala. The patron of the church St. Mary is affectionately called Vallarpadath Amma (mother of Vallarpadam) by devotees here. As Kerala is a state full of fisher folk and sailor community and St. Mary is the patron saint for this community. It is believed that she would prevent sailors and fishermen from all dangers of sea and other sorts of adversities.
Koratty Muthy (October)
Koratty Muthy's (St Mary's) Forane church at Koratty is one of the most important Marian Pilgrim Centre in India after Velankanni. The Church is located in a beautiful, scenaric village of Koratty (named after the church) in Thrissur district. The Annual Grand Feast organized at the Koratty Muthy’s church is a very significant and mega event to miss. The festival is celebrated with great number of rituals and is a rich and spectacular ceremony attended by thousands of pilgrims from all over the world.
Kalpathi Ratholsavam (November)
Kalpathi, a village in Palakkad district, is one of the early Brahmin settlements in Kerala. The place is also known as ‘Dakshin Kasi’ or ‘Varanasi of the South’. Sree Visalakshi Sametha Viswanatha Swamy Temple of Kalpathi is believed to have built 700 years back, in 1425 AD. The Kalpathi Ratholsavam or chariot procession held annually here is one of the most remarkable festivals of Kerala.
Parumala Perunnal (April/May)
Parumala Perunnal, the glorious festival celebrated in Kerala is one of the most famous celebrations held in the evergreen state of India. Parumala Perunnal in Kerala is celebrated at Parumala St. Peter's & St. Paul's Orthodox Church, Parumala, Thiruvalla, Pathanamthitta. Parumala Perunnal Kerala is a festival where life at Kerala comes to halt. Parumala Perunnal Kerala is celebrated at a convenient place making it easier for the tourists to reach the place and find grace in the occasion.
Vaikathashtami Festival (November/December)
The festival popularly known as the “Ashtami Festival” is dedicated towards worshipping Lord Shiva in the form of Shivlinga. The festival is celebrated at the Vaikom Mahadeva Temple in Kerala which is one of the oldest and extremely popular temples of Kerala both from religious and social perspectives. It is majorly a Hindu Festival. Lord Shiva, the main deity in the temple appears in three forms in a day namely - morning he is Dakshinamoorti, noon he is Kiratamurti and in the evening he is Sambhashivan along with Goddess Parvati.
Kerala Village Fair (Mid January)
Mid January is the time for cultural events in the lush villages around Kovalam every year. Traditional thatched houses are decorated during this ten-day long festival and are the venue for folk dances, music and festivities. A typical Kerala village - 'gramam' is recreated replete with the traditional Nalukettu houses, 'chayakkada', local teashops etc.
Thai Poosam (January/February)
Thai Poosam is a festival celebrated in the Tamil month ‘Thai’. The Tamil month Thai usually falls in January-February. Thai Pusam, a festival dedicated to worship Lord Murugan, is a popular and most celebrated festival for Tamilians. Thai Poosam is celebrated on the day of Poosam nakshatra (star) around the Purnima in the Tamil month Thai.
Chinakkathoor Pooram (February)
The Chinakkathoor Pooram is an elephant peagent which is held annually at the sacred Sree Chinakkathoor Bhagavathy Temple, at Palappuram in Palakkad district in north Kerala. A huge procession of 33 festooned tuskers is the highlight of the festival. The festival is celebrated in Kumbham month of Malayam calendar. Localiite performs traditional art forms like Vellattu, Theyyam, Poothanum thirayum, Kaalavela, Kuthiravela, Aandi Vedan, Karivela on the Panchavadyam or the temple orchestra. The popular ritualistic show puppetry, Tholppavakkoothu, is performed at the temple premises every evening.
Pariyanampetta Pooram (February)
Pariyanampetta Pooram is a seven day fest held at Pariyanampetta Bhagavathy Temple, Kattukulam in Palakkad district of ‘God’s own country’, Kerala. The Pariyanampetta temple is dedicated to Goddess Bhagavathy, the Goddess of 14 Desams. The image of goddess is drawn on floor and songs are sung along with it; this ritualistic drawing is called Kalamezhuthu Pattu and is performed on all the seven days of the festival.
Arattupuzha Pooram (March)
Arattupuzha is a culturally significant village located in Thrissur district of Kerala. This village, about 15 km from the town of Thrissur is renowned for the annual festival called Arattupuzha Pooram. It is a festival that takes place with the Sree Sastha Temple, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, as the nerve centre. It is believed that during the festival period, Lord Ayyappa, the presiding deity at the Sree Sastha Temple is visited by gods and goddesses of the neighbouring villages.
Attuvela Mahotsavam (March/April)
The Attuvela Mahotsavam is a grandiose water carnival as opposed to many of usual temple festivals celebrated in God’s own country, Kerala where elephants play an important role and is a centre of attraction. The festival is continued for two days. The Attuvela Mahotsavam is associated with the Elankavu Bhagavathy temple, sited at Vadayar village 3 kilometers far from Vaikom, of Kottayam district in Kerala. Goddess Bhagavathy is installed and worshipped in this temple. The festival is celebrated in ‘Meenam’ month of Malyalam calendar which corresponds to March-April of Gregorian calendar.
Paripally Gajamela (February/March)
The Paripally Galamela is celebrated at Paripally, 48 km to the north of Thiruvananthapuram. During this elephant fair over 50 elephants are taken out on a ritual procession on the tenth day of the festival.
Thirunakkara Arattu (March)
The 10 day Thirunakkara Arattu is another of Kerala's famous temple festivals. As is the norm with these festivals, the highlight is a procession of decorated elephants. Accompanied by drummers and other performers, they carry the temple god to be bathed. Nine elephants usually participate in the Thirunakkara Arattu. Other attractions of the festival are traditional Kathakali dancers, which perform throughout the night on the third and fourth days of the festival, and folk arts such as the Mayilattom (peacock dance) in the temple compound.
Uthralikavu Pooram (March)
This Kerala temple festival is dedicated to the Goddess Kali. In the evening, be delighted by rituals and folk art performances under the glow of traditional temple lamps. The highlight of the Uthralikavu Pooram is an all night elephant pageant, backed by resounding traditional drumming.
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