Kerala is an exotic tourist destination with natures bounty. Mesmerising forests, undulating hills and palm fringed beaches are all there in the state which draw tourists not only from India but across the globe. The highlight of Kerala however, is the backwaters and the surrounding lush green vegetation. Kerala has a very rich history associated with it and is therefore quite attached to the culture and tradition. Festivals in Kerala are also celebrated with great pomp and show people participate in great numbers to show respect to their religion. Onam is the most important festival of Kerala.
5 must see festivals of Kerala
Onam is being celebrated from seven centuries in the state as the day when Mahabali, the celebrated ruler of Kerala visits his subject. It is a harvest festival celebrated in the month of August or September. The celebration goes on for ten days, where the homes are decorated with flowers and community feast is organised. Young children get presents from older ones on this day. There is an old legend associated with this festival, which says that the ruler of Kerala, Mahabali was punished by Lord Vishnu and also given a boon to visit his subject once in a year. When you are holidaying in Kerala around the month of August to September, you should make it a point to celebrate Onam in the state.
Vishu, considered as the festival of light and fireworks, is the most unique Hindu festival celebrated in Kerala. The most important event in Vishu is the Vishukkani, which literally means “the first thing seen on the day of Vishu after waking up”.Vishu is usually celebrated in the second week of April in the Gregorian calendar. The VishuKani is meant to bring luck and prosperity for the year starting from Vishu Day Medam 1st.
navratri is a popular Hindu festival that is celebrated all over the country. It celebrates the nine forms of the divine goddess and is celebrated for nine days where devotees fast and only eat fruits. The final day of the celebrations end with a puja, and young girls are fed special food made for the occasion. The same festival is celebrated by Bengalis as Durga Puja, although there are some differences in the way that it is celebrated in Bengal.
Diwali or Divali also known as Deepavali and the “festival of lights”, marks the return of Lord Ram to his home after years of exile and several great adventures that are mentioned in the Hindu epic Ramayana. It is also known as Diwali, and is a festival of light that is celebrated with much enthusiasm. Ceremonial diyas (earthen lamps) are lit, and efforts are made to ensure that no place near one’s home is in darkness. Modern day Deepawali has seen celebrations using crackers, which light up the sky with multitudes of colours. Goddess Lakshmi is also worshipped on Diwali night, and is said to bring wealth to the family.
Kerala has a large Christian population, and Christmas is celebrated across the state with great enthusiasm. Churches hold mass, and prayers are said before people go home and exchange gifts.
Kerala displays amazing cultural diversity, and these festivals prove it. If you are in the state during one of the festivals, do make sure that you experience how the locals celebrate them.