Traditional Festivals

When it comes to Kerala festivals, one can see that there is a lot of opportunity for local people to show their unique talent. Kerala a very beautiful and colorful place that is supported by a great tradition and rich cultural history. The combination of different communities and ethnic groups leads to the celebration of different festivals.As you move from one place to the other, you will find a great variety in the festivals and traditions. People of different parts of Kerala celebrate the festivals in a unique way.  The celebration is further moved ahead with the annual festivals that are celebrated by people of all regions.  Tourists can find one or the other festival throughout the year. There is a reason to celebrate in Kerala and every season comes with a festival. Some of the traditional festivals of Kerala include -


Onam is considered as one of the important festivals of Kerala that is celebrated practically by all the Malayalis i8rrespective of their region and tradition. This festival is celebrated for ten days and comes in the month of August or September. This festival is celebrated as a harvest festival, where people show their joy and excitement in honor of the new season. People lay flower mates at the entrance of their houses for ten days to welcome the King Mahabali. On the last day of the festival people prepare Onasadhya. This festival starts with Attam and ends on Thiruvonam. Mahabali was fond of his land and the subjects of Mahabali were allowed to visit the land every year, which is celebrated as Onam. On this festival, people exchange greetings and present lengthy auspicious clothes to their friends and dear ones. The Tourism Week is celebrated in Kerala to mark the Onam festival. During this celebration, the streets are illuminated with bright lights and flowers, and different traditions and cultural programs are performed at various places of the city. Some of the popular places where the celebrations take place are - Kanakkunu Palace. The biggest attraction of Onam is the boat race, where lakhs of people gather to watch and celebrate the event.

Arthunkal Perunnal

Arthunkal is a ten-day annual feast that is celebrated at St. Sebastian's church at Arthunkal in Alappuzha District. This festival is celebrated every year in the month of January, where the devotees from various regions of the State gather at the church and celebrate the feast days with great warmth and joy. The important event in the festival is the procession that carries a statue of St. Sebastian from the church to the beach and back to the church.The final day ceremony is also considered as the best part of the festival, where devotees crawl on their knees to the nearby beach from the church. This event is followed by a procession.

Chettikulangara Bharani

This festival is held every year at the Chettikulangara temple and is celebrated in the month of Kumbham (February-March). On the occasion of this festival, the temples are decorated flowers and lights. People dedicate this festival to Goddess Bhagavathy. The spectacular event Kettukazhcha is the main attraction of this festival, where the ceremony is followed by a procession that carries beautifully decorated structures. The structures are decorated in such a way that the bigger structures represent horses and the smaller structures represent the chariots.  The cultural performance are some of the greatest highlights of the festival, where people of different customs and traditions give a live performance of their cultural heritage. The architectural marvels leave an everlasting impression on the people, particularly at night, when the street re illuminated with bright and colorful lights. The chariots move from one village to the other and represent the heritage of that particular region. You will find a great harmony in the hamlets.

Kalpathi Ratholsavam

This is a Hindu festival that celebrates annually and is one of the popular and important festivals of Kerala. This festival is also celebrated in the name of  Kalpathi Chariot and is especially celebrated in the Kalpathi village. This festival is observed at Sri Visalakshi Sametha Sri Viswanatha Swamy temple that is devoted towards Lord Shiva and Goddess Lakshmi. This is celebrated in November month and is observed for ten days. As it has been celebrated for years, this festival gained a great popularity in Kerala. The main events of the festival include – various cultural programs and Vedic recitals that take place in the first four days. The last three days of the festival are celebrated with great devotion, where the devotees are given an opportunity to decorate the chariots for the Lord. Tourists from across different parts of the country  travel to Kerala to take part in this auspicious festival.

Kottiyoor Festival

This festival is held in the months of May and June and is celebrated for twenty eight days. The festival is also known as the Vaisakha Maholsavam festival that starts with the Neyyattam ritual performed on the Swati Day in Edavam. The festival concludes with the Thrikkalashaattu. This festival begins with the ceremony where, a sword is brought from Muthirerikavu, Wayanad. In the Visakham star Bhandaram Ezhunnallath is held, which is a customary practice of the people living in that village. The main event of this festival is the ornaments that are brought from the nearby Manathana village.

An important customary tradition that is observed during the festival is the 'Elaneer Vayppu', where people  submit tender coconuts before the Shiva linga. To make this festival a grand success and show their enthusiasm, people from different regions bring tender coconuts and submit them to the god. The coconut water gathers from the tender coconuts are poured on the idol by the main priest of the temple. This event is known as ‘'Elaneeraattam'.

Machattu Mamangam

This is a five day festival that is observed in a particular region. The festival reflects the true enthusiasm of the people, where the people are dipped in joy and fraternity. This festival is held at a Machattu Thiruvanikavu temple which is dedicated to Goddess Bhagavathy. On the last day of the festival, you will see a procession where beautifully decorated kuthirakolams are brought to the temple ceremoniously by the devotees. The devotees offer these horses to the Goddedd Bhagavaty to please her and get her blessings. People from different parts gather to watch and cheer the effigies . Other than this, different kinds of cultural programs are held..

Other Traditional Festivals of Kerala are:

  • Malanada Kettukazcha
  • Manarcad Perunnal, Kottayam
  • Nenmara Vallangi Vela
  • Parumala Perunnal
  • Pulikali


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