Festivals have an innate magical ability to take you out of your small world and make you a part of the collective high-spiritedness. They are an inherent part of India’s rich cultural heritage and Kerala is where you will witness every jubilee celebrated with great zest. One must experience festivals of Kerala at least once in his lifetime.
Spread out across the year, the many merriments in Kerala seek participation from people all over the globe and the celebrations continue for several days. While it may be over promising to attend every bit of Kerala’s festivities, we have jotted down some of the best festivals in Kerala that must have your presence.
The Must Experience Festivals of Kerala
1. Kerala Boat Festival
Boat races in Kerala have been a noteworthy part of the state’s history, culture and tradition. They provide a thrill to the otherwise calm and serene backwaters of Kerala. The most popular races comprise of the Champakulam Moolam Boat Race that is held in Alappuzha, the Nehru Trophy Boat Race that takes place in Alleppey, the Payippad Jalotsavam that happens in Payippad Lake and lastly the Vallam Kali held in the Punnamada Lake.
• When does the Boat Festival take place: You can experience the boat festival in the months of July to September
Vishu is the first day of the Malayalam calendar and hence marks a new year in Kerala. It falls on the same day as the Spring Equinox, when the duration of night and day is equal. On this day, the first thing that people in Kerala wake up and do is see the idols of Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna and all the offerings in the temple, or the Vishukanni as they say. It acts as a harbinger of the year’s good luck and prosperity.
When is Vishu celebrated: Vishu falls in the month of Medam in the Malayalam astrology calendar, i.e. the month of April
Easter for Keralaites is about the long weekend, lip-smacking non-vegetarian food and lots of shopping. It is one of the oldest Christian festivals celebrating the resurgence of Jesus Christ. The beautiful and enormous churches in Kerala are brightly lit up and you must attend the mass and prayers. A pungent drink is also served there that is made out of vinegar and leaves, along with other food items.
• When is Easter celebrated: Easter is celebrated by all Christians across the globe between the months of March and April
Ramadan is an important religious festival celebrated by Muslims worldwide. It is the Islamic holy month of fasting that is ended as soon as the new moon is espied at the end of the month. In this month, the disciples in Kerala and all over the world honour Muhammad and develop more self-control. It teaches one to be humble, understand the atrocities of the poor and also reinforces the importance of charity during Ramadan. It ends with the greatest celebration of all, Eid al-Fitr that means the breaking of the fast.
• When is Ramadan celebrated: This esteemed festival of the Muslims is celebrated in the month of June.
Also known as the harvest festival, Onam is one among the most important festivals of Kerala. It also is one of the most secular festivals. Moreover, it marks the homecoming of the king Mahabali who is a great mythical figure among the people of Kerala. Regardless of the religions and communities, everyone celebrate Onam with equal enthusiasm. The festivities last for ten days and pops out the best of Kerala’s tradition and culture.
• When is Onam celebrated: It falls during the Malayalam month of Chingam, i.e., either in August or September
A nine-day long celebration, Navratri is celebrated a little differently in Kerala as compared to the rest of the country. The final three days of Navaratri comprises of Durga Ashtami, Mahanavami and Vijayadashami are especially set apart to worship the goddess of learning and wisdom- Goddess Saraswati. There are a lot of exhibitions and performances that take place called `Koluvaipu', bearing varied images of Gods and animals.
• When is Navratri celebrated: This festival in honour of Goddesses or the Divine Mother is celebrated in the month of ‘Kanni’ in Malayalam calendar, i.e., the month of September.
Diwali is celebrated with fanfare in most of the parts of the state. It celebrates the return of Lord Ram after defeating Ravana. The custom is to have an oil bath before the rising of the sun, followed by eating a preparation made out of dry ginger and jaggery. The usual customs of wearing new clothes, decorating homes with lights and oil lamps and bursting firecrackers are followed.
• When is Diwali celebrated: This festival of lights and victory over evil is celebrated during the month of Thulam, i.e., the month of October
Christmas is most uniquely celebrated in Kerala. It sees a carnival like festivities with grand processions with bedecked elephants, fancy dress competitions, music bands and varied folk art forms of Kerala. The local architecture and the grandiosity of churches are furthermore alluring. You must attend the midnight mass at the churches in Kerala. Some exotic delicacies are prepared to make the celebrations even more stimulating.
• When is Christmas celebrated: Christmas is celebrated throughout the world every year on the 25th of December.
With all this and much more, we cannot agree any less that Kerala is a land of festivals with a number of festivals splendidly celebrated across the year. If you wish to be a part of these distinct and exhilarating festivities too, book your Kerala tourism package today.
Kerala Holidays are known to customise their trips as per your likings and also organise special festive tour packages for Kerala. It is one of India’s leading tour operating firms and you can be rest assured to find best deals at competitive rates. Contact our travel experts today and set out on a comfortable, luxurious and a memorable journey.