Life is a celebration in Kerala as is brought forth during the gaiety and fervor during their festivals. The annual calendar is full of festivals, fairs and following the other...all in their unique spirit... making the life of Kerala colourful and lively. Here is a mention of few of the important festivals in Kerala


The 10-day festival is Kerala's most important festival, honouring King Mahabali, a mythological king of ancient Kerala, whose period was reckoned as the golden age in the history of the state. He was the embodiment of virtues, goodness, so was his regime which was marked by equality and harmony among people

10 Days of Onam

Onam festivities commence on Atham, ten days prior to Thiruvonam. Hence Atham is regarded as holy and auspicious by Keralites. Chithira marks the second day of celebrations; not many rituals are performed on this day but people do offer their prayers to evoke the divine blessings

The third day of the ten day long festival of Onam is called Chothi or Chodi. The day is marked by loads of activities. Frenzied shopping can be witnessed in the markets as everybody buys new clothes and accessories during Chingam. The excitement builds up on the fourth day - Vishagam or Vishakam.

Since the number of days left for the big days are few now, the excitement becomes obvious among the people. Brisk activities in the market and households can be witnessed on the day of Vishakam

A major attraction of Anizham, the fifth day is the grand Snake boat race event called Vallamkali. This hugely popular competition is held on river Pamba at Aranmulla. A multitude of domestic and international tourists come to witness the colorful spectacle. On Triketa and Moolam, the sixth and seventh days, cultural programmes and social gatherings are organized by various malayali associations around the world. On Pooradam, the devotees create clay idols called Mathevar. As the idol is created on the day of Pooradam, it is also called Poorada Uttigal. Each Mathevar is decorated with flowers. On the ninth day - Uthradam, the tenants and dependents of large traditional joint families bring the produce of their farms or the product of their toil to the Karanavar (eldest member of the Tarawad). These gifts from the tenants to the Karanvar are called Onakazhcha. Karanvar greets these people warmly and treats them to a sumptuous spread on Thiruvonam


The celebrations that begin on Atham, reach a crescendo on Thiruvonam. In the town of Trichur, a vibrant procession of caparisoned elephants is taken out. While at Cheruthuruthy, people gather to watch Kathakali performers enact scenes from epics and folk tales. Performers painted to resemble wild tigers, dance to the beats of instruments like udukku and thakil. At Aranmulla, a temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna and Arjuna where thousands of people gather to witness the exciting snake boat races. Nearly 30 chundan vallams or snake boats participate in the festival, singing traditional boat songs. Each snake boat belongs to a village and is worshipped like a deity. Every year, the boat is oiled with fish oil, coconut shell and carbon, mixed with eggs to keep the wood strong and boat slippery in the water

Thiruvathira Festival

The festival falls on the asterism Thiruvathira in the Malayalam month of Dhanu (December-January). On thiruvathira morning, devotees throng Shiva temples for an early worship which is reckoned as highly auspicious. Tradition says Thiruvathira is celebrating the death of Kamadeva, the mythological God of Love. According to another version, Thiruvathira is the birthday of Lord Shiva. The festival has similarities to adra darshan celebrated in Tamil Nadu

Makaravillakku at Sabarimala

This festival in Sabarimala marks the end of Mandalam. For centuries, Sabarimala in Pathanamthitta has been a major pilgrim centre attracting lakhs of devotees from all over India, more so from southern States. The presiding deity is Lord Ayyappa known as Dharma Sastha, considered a symbol of unity between Vaishnavites and Saivites


Bakr Id, also known as Id-ul-Zuha in Arabic, is one of the grandest of Muslim festivals. It is celebrated on the 10th day of the last month, Zil-Hijja, of lunar calendar of the Muslims. The festival is celebrated by Muslims throughout the world with similar gaiety and fervor. Bakr Id, in Kerala, is a national holiday so that the Muslims along with people of other religious background can get together and enjoy the festivities

Bakr Id is also known as the Festival of Sacrifice celebrated in remembrance of the sacrifices made by Prophet Ibrahim. The festival also marks the completion of the Haj, the Muslim pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca. All festivals of Islam have some religious significance and are occasions to express their gratitude to God. Bakr Id signifies sacrifice and brotherly love for each other


Christmas, the most popular festival of the Christians, is celebrated to mark the birth date of Jesus of Nazareth. Besides, the celebration of the birth of Jesus, Christmas also combines various secular traditions influenced mainly by ancient winter festivals such as Yule and Saturnalia. A typical Christmas celebration includes Christmas trees, cakes, exchange of gifts and cards and the arrival of Santa Claus on the Christmas Eve to give away presents. The festival promotes goodwill, compassion and love

Traditionally, Christmas is celebrated on December 25 throughout the world. But some Eastern Orthodox Churches celebrate Christmas on January 7, which corresponds to December 25 of the Julian calendar. It is usually preceded by the Christmas Eve and followed by the Boxing Day.

It is not known that when or why December 25 came to be associated with the birthday of Jesus Christ as the New Testament does not specify a particular date for his birth. Sextus Julius Africanus propagated the idea that Jesus was born on December 25 in his Chronographiai, a reference book for the Christians written in 221 AD. In the beginning, the Jesus's birth date was not associated with any celebration or festivity. The earliest reference to Christmas is in the Calendar of Filocalus, an illuminated manuscript compiled in Rome in 354 AD. In the east, Christians celebrated the birth of Jesus as the part of Epiphany on January 6, although this festival focused on the baptism of Jesus

Christmas in Kerala

In spite of Hindus and Muslims being in majority in Kerala, Christmas is celebrated with equal zest and vigor. Christmas, in Kerala is a national holiday and all the people, irrespective of their religion, enjoy and celebrate it along with Christians. It is celebrated in more or less the same manner as throughout the world. The Christmas tree is a comparatively new addition to Christmas celebrations in Kerala. The twinkling Christmas star placed at Christian homes or shops initiates a season full of cheerfulness and joy


Among the various Hindu festivals in Kerala, Vishu occupies a unique position in more than one respect. As symbol of the unostentatious Malayali, Vishu is free from the usual pomp and show and merry-making associated with other festivities. When almost all the festivals are connected in some way or other with religion, Vishu has nothing to do with it, though it is observed with religious solemnity. The first day for Medam is the unchangeable day of Vishu, whereas other festivals are determined according to the lunar asterisms on which they fall. This day on which Vishu falls is the astronomical new year day and it is celebrated as such. The Malayalis believe that the fortunes for the year depend upon the nature of the object one sees first in the morning of Vishu Day. In order to fulfill the desire to look at the auspicious articles, they prepare a 'Kani' (anomen) on the previous day for seeing in the next morning. In circular bell-metal vessel known as 'Urule' some raw rice is put and over it a folded newly washed cloth is spread

A golden coloured cucumber, betel leaves, betel nuts, metal mirror, yellow flowers of Konna tree (cassia fistula), a Grandha (book of palm leaves) and a few gold coins are then placed over the cloth in the vessel arranged in a decorative fashion. Two coconut halves containing oil and lighted wicks are also placed in the vessel which illuminate the articles inside it. A bell-metal lamp filled with coconut oil is kept burning by the side of the vessel. Early in the morning of the Vishu at about 5 O'clock, one of the members of the house, usually the eldest female member gets up and lights the lamp and looks at' Kani' . She wakes up other member, one after another and the Kani is shown to everyone of them, taking particular care not to allow anyone to look by chance at other things. The vessel is taken to the bedside to the members or if it is too big to be carried, it is placed at one spot and the members are led there blind-folded. Even the cattle are not deprived of this privilege, as the Kani is taken to the cattle-shed and placed before them to have a look

The next item is giving of handsel (Kaineetom). The eldest member of the family takes some silver coins and gives them to a junior member with some raw rice and Konna flower. This is repeated in the case of other members also and they in turn give such handsel to their juniors, relatives, servants etc. After this the children begin to fire crackers


Easter is the oldest Christian festival, as old as Christianity itself. The Central tenet of Christianity is not the birth of Jesus, but his resurrection. Easter derived from this paschal mystery and from the events of Good Friday

The content of Easter was gradually analyzed into historical events and each began to be celebrated on a different day. As a result, Easter grew into a Holy Week and came to have a preparatory season to precede and a festive season to follow. Thus we have four distinct periods in connection with the observance of Easter -

1. Lent, the forty preparatory penitential days.

2. Holy Week including the Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

3. the Octave ofEaster (classical time for Baptism) and

4. the paschal season or Easter time extending over forty more days. On Holy Thursday the Lord's supper is held in the evening. The washing of feet is a remarkable trait, emphasizing the love for one another. At home there will be the rite of the paschal bread. After supper, the 'cross cake' is brought out and cut into pieces. A piece is broken, dipped into sauce and handed over to each member of the family in due order

Thrissur Pooram

One of the largest and most spectacular temple festivals of the world, the Thrissur Pooram unfolds against the backdrop of the famed Vadakumnathan Temple in Trichur, the sanctum of Lord Shiva, the presiding deity of the city. Drawing huge masses of people and involving meticulous planning, this festival has been described as the "mother of all poorams". It is essentially an assemblage of the ten deities from nearby temples paying homage to their lord and benefactor, Vadakumnathan. Principle participants are the two temples of Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi; their friendly and much feted rivalry enlivens the proceedings. The pooram culminates in a parade of thirty elephants from adjoining temples and some stunning fireworks at 2.30, next morning


The unique feature of Ochira, one of the famous pilgrim centres of Kerala, is that there is no deity or idol at the famous Parabrahma temple dedicated to the Universal Consciousness. Ochira Kali held in mid June and the twelve day Panthrandu Vilakku (twelve lamp festival) in November/December are the two main annual festivals. Ochira Kali, is a mock fight enacted between groups of men dressed as warriors on the padanilam (battle field). They perform a martial dance standing in knee-deep water, brandishing swords and shields, and splashing water in every direction

Sree Narayana Guru Jayanti

It marks the birth of the Sree Narayana Guru, the Kingpin of a social revolution, which transformed the caste-ridden society of Kerala

Janmashthami or Sree Krishna Jayanti

This festival is celebrated to mark the birth of Lord Krishna

Vinayaka Chaturthi

This festival is celebrated in the month of avani on chaturthi (4th) day which comes after the new moon. For anything to go well, people pray on this day to Lord Vinayaka or Ganesha. Lord Vinayaka has got an elephant face and human body. He is worshipped by many names like Vinayaka, Ganesha, Pillayar, Vigneshwara, Gajanana, Ganapathy, Mooshika Vahanaa, Modhaga priya etc..

KERALA Foundation Day

This event is organized to commemorate Kerala's recognition as a state


Deepavali, the festival of lights, is held throughout India. In Kerala, this is celebrated only by Hindus. It falls on the preceding day of the New Moon in the Malayalam month Thulam (October-November). It is celebrated in commemoration of the destruction of the demon called Narakasura by Lord Krishna. As Lord Krishna killed Narakasura on the Chaturdasi day (the fourteenth lunar day) it is also known as Narakachaturdasi

Before sunrise, all in the house have their oil bath and put on new cloths. Sweets are then served followed by bursting of crackers. The word 'Deepavali' means an array of lights. The people of Dwaraka greeted Lord Krishna with illumination and rejoicing in honour of his victory over Narakasura. The darkness of the Chaturdasi night compelled them to use many lamps on the occasion, and subsequently the illumination became a part of this celebration


Also known as 'Ramadan', is one of the two festivals of Islam. Ramadan is the ninth month of the lunar year. During this month the Muslims observe fast, giving up all kinds of food and drink during day time, and spend the major part of the night in devotion and prayer


Capital :Thiruvananthapuram
Language : Malayalam, English
Area : 38863 Sq. Km.
Boundaries : West - Arabian Sea
South East : Tamilnadu
North East : Karnataka
Population : 30,500,000
Literacy : 99%
Sea Shore : 580 Km.
Districts : 14
Main Port : Cochin
Temperature : 34oC - 21oC (Summer)
Monsoon : June - October
Official Animal: Elephant
Official Bird: Nightingale
Official Tree : Coconut
Map Position: South West Corner of Indian Sub conti.
Religions: Hindu, Christian, Islam
Time Zone: +5.30 GMT
Currency : Indian Rupee
Climate : Tropical
Summer: February - May (Max. 33oC Min. 24oC)
Monsoon : June - September (Max. 28oC Min. 22oC)
Winter : October - January (Max. 32oC Min. 22oC