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Religion And Rituals In Kerala


One of the oldest religions in the world, the history of Hinduism goes back to about 5000 BC. It is believed that this religion worships Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. This religion prospered in the state and a unique blend of diverse cultures of Aryans and Dravidians and other religions like Jainism, Brahmanism and Buddhism. This state also boasts of a famous saint taking birth here, Sree Sankaracharya. He propagated the concept of duality or Advaitha. The state’s main religion is Hinduism.


In 1st century, St Thomas arrived in this state as a result of which Christianity came into India. There are many churches in the state but some most prominent ones are Cranganore, Palayoor, Paravur, Malayattoor, Chayal, Kokkamangalam, Niranam and Kollam. Coming of these Christian missionaries in the country resulted in the widespread awareness about Education in this state. In Christian community also, many sects came up as a result of foreign influences. There are 11 dioceses in the state from among country’s 23 dioceses. The Christians living in the state also celebrate all kinds of festivals with same fun and excitement with great fervor. They have now adopted various customs and traditions followed by Hindus. They have adjusted well to this place. These Christians form about twenty percent of the total population in Kerala. These Christians have been instrumental in enhancing awareness about education and prosperity from economic point of view.


Islam as a religion came to this state in 7th Century and many traders and merchants came from Arabic countries. The Muslims settled in this state adhere strongly with the customs, traditions and beliefs of their religion. The main tenets of their religion are having faith only in one God, observing fast during the month of Ramzan, praying to God five times in a day, Hajj and Sakkath. In the state’s culture, a vital role was played by Arabic language in the culture of the place. Most of the mosques of the state are located mostly in the northern part of Kerala, that is, the Malabar area. Trivandrum boasts of a famous mosque, Beema Palli close to the seashore. Secularity is the most important thing that is kept in mind by the people of this place and live with harmony with people belonging to different religious sects.


During the reign of the famous Mauryan king, Chandragupta Maurya, Jainism religion came to this state. Many Jain temples were converted into Hindu temples after Aryans came here and settled in the state. Most of the Jain families residing in this state are settled close to Palakkad area.


For the purpose of trade and commerce, Jews came to this state in seventh century AD. They came here and settled in Cochin. The most famous Jewish church in the state is Mattanchery Church located in Cochin. After Israel came into existence, Jews of this state migrated to this newly formed state.


Buddhism gained strength during the reign of Asoka, grandson of Chandragupta Maurya. In Quilon and Alleppy, several Buddha images came to light and spoke volumes about this religion.

Kerala Traditions and Rituals

A large number of festivals are celebrated in the state with much fanfare and excitement. These festivals are related to temples, community rituals, temples and society rituals. Some of these festivals are Onapookkalam, flower carpet, Thrikkakkara appan’s worship, “Aarpu vili” shouts of jubiliation, mirthful songs in “Pulikkali” and observing many more rituals and traditions from the erstwhile times. Onam is also celebrated with much excitement which is a ten day long festival and one of the major religions in this state. This is a harvest festival that is celebrated in this state. Kerala New Year, also referred to as Vishu, a popular ritual namely “Vishukkai neettam” is also celebrated. During this festival, gifts are offered by the elders to the young family members that can be in the form of cash too.

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