India is the land of colourful festivals. An Indian wakes up to some festival or the other every day of the year. Because, India is a country of immense linguistic, cultural, and geographical diversity, reflected in the different styles of religious observance.

There are 32 states/UTs, 18 officially recognized languages, 6 major religious communities viz. Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and hundreds of sub religions. Because of the peculiar social and cultural structure, every community, every religion has something to celebrate about all through out the year. The festivals round the year keep the life of Indian’s vibrant and interludes in the mundane affairs of life.

Festivals in Kerala
Sabarimala Temple- Ayyappa Temple
For many centuries Sabarimala in the south has been an important pilgrim centre attracting millions of devotees. Sabarimala temple is one of the best-known pilgrimage destinations in Kerala; atop the rugged hills of the Western Ghats.
Read more >>>>> Makaravilakku


Onam is the most popular and attractive festival of Kerala, India. It is the harvest festival of Kerala. Irrespective of cast, creed, religion, all Keralites celebrate it now as a national festival of Kerala and it is part of the cultural repertoire of every Malayalee. Onam in the Malayalam month of Chingam (Aug-Sept).

The legend states that Onam is celebrated as the home coming of Mahabali, the king who ruled over Kerala in the age of plenty and all are equal.

Read more >>>>>>> Onam Legends

Viuhu is the New year day of Malayalees which falls on the first day of Medam, the first month of Malayalam calendar (usually on April 14th). Malayalees begin the first day of the Year by waking up in front of Kani called Vishukkani or Kani Kanal, which literally means first sight. It is a common belief that the fortune of the coming year depends on the first day.

Read more >>>>>>>
Ashtami Rohini
Ashtami Rohini is the birthday of Lord Krishna and is celebrated with great importance. It is held in the month of Chingam (Aug- Sept). Devotees visit the Krishna temples where special Pooja and cultural programmes are held.

This festival is celebrated in the month of Vrischikam (Nov -Dec). Display of light in the evening is a unique part of the festival.

Thiruvathira is celebrated in the month of Dhanu (December-January) and a festival intended for women only. It commemorates the death of Kamadeva, the cupid of Hindu mythology. The aim of the celebration is conjugal harmony and happiness. The dance form Thiruvathirkkali is associated with this celebration.

Karkidaka Vavu
It is believed that ' bali ' on Karkidaka vavu will appease spirits of the ancestors and bring good fortunes and prosperity. The rites are performed according to the Hindu custom and usually, it is performed in a Theertha ghat. Necessary arrangements at the various locations will be made by the Devaswom Board authorities/the Viswa Brahmana Sabha/the Viswa Hindu Parishad. The ritual usually began at 5 a.m. and extended up to 12 noon in almost all the major ghats.

Read more >>>>>>> Some of the important Theertha ghats

Thrissur Pooram
- The most spectacular spectacle in the state. Sakthan Thampuran, the Maharaja of erstwhile Kochi state, introduced this festival. Celebrated in Medom (April-May) the festival parades the fulgent faces of Kerala culture. With every passing year Tthrissur Pooram, the temple festival, attracts large masses of devotees and spectators.

Aranmula Uthrittathi - The famous snake boat carnival on the Pampa, held annually at Aranmula on the day of Uthrittathi asterism, in connection with the Onam festival is to commemorate the crossing of the river by Lord Krishna on that day. The deity is supposed to be in all the boats that take part in the carnival and all of them are expected to arrive at their destination simultaneously.

Maha sivarathri
Mahasivarathri is celebrated in Kumbam (Feb-March). It commemorates the day on which Lord Shiva consumed Kalakuda visham (the deadly poison) to save the world from destruction. The main celebration of the day is offering of special poojas and abhishekhams, and cultural programs in all the Shiva temples. The Sivarathri festival on the banks of River Periyar at Alwaye, is one of the most spectacular local festivals of Kerala, which attracts thousands of pilgrims from all over the country.

It is popularly known Saraswathy Pooja. Saraswathy is known as goddess of Knowledge. Students are kept their books for Pooja on this day and all tools are kept for Pooja by the workers.

Read more >>>>>>> Poojavaipu / Pooja Eduppu

Deepavali (Diwali) or the 'Festival of lights' is perhaps the most beautiful of all Indian festivals. It falls on the preceding day of the New Moon in the Malayalam month Thulam (October-November).

Read more >>>>>>> Deepavali
Aarattu / Pallivetta : Arattu means Holy Bath and Pallivetta means Royal Hunt.

Read more >>>>>>> Arattu at the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple

Pooram Read more >>>>>>>


Mahasivarathri is cellebrated in Kumbam (Feb-March). It commemorates the day on which Lord Shiva consumed Kalakuda visham (the deadly poison) to save the world from destruction. The main celebration of the day is offering of special poojas and abhishekhams, and cultural programs in all the Shiva temples. The Sivarathri festival on the banks of River Periyar at Alwaye, is one of the most spectacular local festivals of Kerala, which attracts thousands of pilgrims from all over the country. Read more >>>>>>>

Elankara temple Vadayar Vaikom is celibrated Aattuvela every year.
The Goddess Bhagavathy is the presiding deity in this temple. During the two-day Attuvela, beautifully illuminated canoes, carrying a huge replica of the temple, glide down the waters accompanied by hordes of colourfully decorated small canoes and temple percussion music.


The Mahadeva Temple at Vaikom is one of the most famous and oldest Siva temples in Kerala. The utsava in this temple is celebrated for twelve days during the dark lunar fortnight of Vrischikam, (November-December) and the Ashtami falling on the last day.

Nilamperoor Padayani
The 16-day festival held at Nilamperoor Bhagavathikkavu at Kuttanad in Alapuzha on Thiruvonam day in Chingam (August-September) and ends on Pooram day, the main day in the festival. Kolamkettu (making of effigies) and Kollamthullal (a ritual dance performed by carrying the effigies) are the main attractions of the festival. In Ezhunnellippu, a procession carrying the Kolams (deities)-another event of the festival- idols along with effigies of swans are being carried to the festival ground amid vociferous clamour and outcries from the throng. The chief kolams displayed are of Shiva, Bhima and Ravana.

In the Vallanghi village of Chittur Taluk , there is a beautiful temple dedicated to goddess Bhagavathi . The keity of this temple is called Nellikulangara Bhagavathi . To invoke the blessings of the Goddess, the people of Vallanghi and Nemmara conduct a festival of 20th Meenam (March-April) every year. This is the famous Vallanghi vela.

Kaalapoottu festival- ox race
Kaalapoottu festival at Palakkad, ox race) is an agrarian ,exciting sport held in the Malayalam month of Makaram (January).

Kalapathy Chariot Festival ( Ratholsav)
Kalapathy Chariot Festival isCelebrated in the second week of every November. During the festival season, the Vishwanatha temple and the agraharas (traditional houses) of settler Tamil Brahmins at Kalpathy village will submerge in a sea of devotees. The religious fervour will reach its crescendo when the Brahmins carry the rathams to the temple premise, an age-old ritual that is gaining popularity with every passing year. Five major rathams (car, chariot) are being dragged in the flamboyant procession accompanied by caparisoned elephants and percussion. The script chanting Vedic scholars maintain the religious tempo of the festival. Residents of each agrahara here have their own rathams.

Historians reason that the festival is older than Thirssure pooram, initiated by Sakthan Thampuran. Myths are woven around the history of the festival. One among them say, a Palakkad lady, who had sacrificed material pleasures for worshipping Lord Shiva, left for Kasi Vishwanatha temple.

She, it is believed, returned years later with an idol of God Shiva and met the then Palakkad King and requested him to install the idol at the Vishwanatha temple at Kalpathy.She also believed to have given gold coins to the King to meet the expense of daily poojas, and requested to celebrate the temple festival every year on the lines of the car festival at Mayuram temples in Tamil Nadu.

Ochira Kali
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. The Oachira Temple is the venue of the famous Oachirakkali (Oachira dance) held in May/ June, a sort of ancient choreographed mock battle. Ochira Kali and the twelve days Panthrandu Vilakku (twelve lamp festival) in February/May are the two main annual festivals.

Ochira Kali -historical background

Ochira Kali, the annual festival at the Parabrahma temple highlights the martial skills of the participants. The historical background of the festival is linked with the erstwhile rulers of the princely states of Kayamkulam and Ambalappuzha. The rulers of Kayamkulam and Ambalappuzha are said to have fought a battle at this place, and the festival is conducted to commemorate the historical event. On these days martial displays are presented in the morning, turning the padanilam (battle field) into an arena of action-packed artistry. Men irrespective of age engage in mock duels wielding wooden sticks in their hands on a vast ground filled with water up to the knee level.

Attukal Ponkala
Attukal Ponkala commences on Bharani day in Kumbhom February-March) and continues for nine days in an ancient Bhagavathy temple (Mudipura) at Attukal in the Kaladi ward of the Thiruvananthapuram.

Ponkala Festival
The offering of Ponkala is a very special temple practice in the southern part of Kerala. 'Ponkala' festival of Attukal Bhagavathy Temple, near thiruvanathapuram, is very famous.
On the 9' day of the festival, it would appear as though all roads in and around Thiruvananthapuram city lead to the Attukal Temple. The people of all caste, creed and religion open fields, roads and commercial institutions emerge as a consecrated ground for observing Ponkala ritual for the lakhs women devotees belong from different parts of Kerala and outside. This ceremony is exclusively confined to women. . The important ritual in the 'Ponkala' is the preparation of rice or varieties of sweet rice using hearths and the earthern pots in the open. It is a wonderful sight to see that the women of all age groups without caste or creed, rich or poor , surging into this area well in advance mostly carrying on their head materials such as firewood, earthern pots, rice, jaggery, coconut etc. to mark out specific spots for the preparation of their offerings to the GoddessThe chief priest of the temple gives the signal for lighting -the hearth at a prefixed auspicious time followed by the humming of the temple drums.

The ceremony concludes with the sprinkling of holy water by temple priests at the appointed time in the evening accompanied by an aerial showering of flowers to the honour and glory of the Goddess Almighty. The temple authorities make all necessary arrangements for the welfare of this huge congregation with the active participation of the voluntary agencies, local people, members of the festival committee and the various government departments.

Kodungalloor Bharani
Bhadrakali born of the third eye of Samhara Rudra, killed the demon Darika. It is to commemorate this event that the famous Bharani festival is celebrated in the Kodungalloor Bhagavathi temple

Guruvayoor Temple
One of the famous temples in India, Guruvayoor is situated in an out-of-the way village in Chavakkad taluk, though it draws a vast concourse of pilgrims from every part of the country. Devotees are thronging to this temple not to see and appreciate the variety of its structural patterns or to revel in the festivals celebrated there, but only to feel the air of benediction that pervades this famous shrine of Guruvayoorappan and to invoke his blessings.

The important religious festivals celebrated in this temple are:
1. Ashtami Rohini in Chingom (August - September)
2. Sukla Paksha Ekadasi in Vrischikom (November-December)
3. Kuchela Day in Dhanu (December-January) the day on which Kuchela visited Sree Krishna with beaten rice.
4. Dhwaja Prathishta day (Erection of flag staff in the temple) on Makayiram Asterism in Makaram (January- February).
5. Vishukkani in Medam (April)
6. The ten days Utsavam commencing from Pooyam Asterism in Kumbhom (February-March).

Chettikulangara Bharani utsavam
The one-day annual Bharani utsavam at the Chettikulangara Bhagavathy Temple is a very popular event. Special rituals, Kuthiyottam performances and Kettukazhcha processions mark the day.

Sabarimala Temple
For many centuries Sabarimala in the south has been an important pilgrim centre attracting lakhs of devotees. Sabarimala temple is one of the best-known pilgrimage destinations in Kerala; atop the rugged hills of the Western Ghats.

Sankaracharaya Jayanthy, Kalady
Sankaracharaya Jayanthy falls on month of May.The fifth day (panchami) of the waxing moon (shukla paksha) of Baisakh is the birtday of the great religious philosopher Shakaracharya. Shankara born as the only son of Nambudri Brahmin in Kerala, who mastered Brahmopadesa at the age of five, became a Sanyasi (ascetic) at eight. He was a disciple of Govinda Bhagavatpada.
Shankara wrote masterly commentaries on the Brahmasutras of Vyasa, eleven of the classical Upanisads and on the Bhagvad Gita (Gita Bhasya).
In his short life span of 32 years, he achieved so much powerfully, purposeful and indeed miraculously that centuries after his advent his birthday is celebrated with effective teaching of his doctrine.

Malabar Mahotsavam
Malabar Mahotsavam is a cultural extravaganza that showcases the centuries old rich cultural heritage of Kerala. The event is at Mananchira maidan (ground) in the heart of Kozhikode town from 13th to 16th January every year.

Swathi Festival
Swathi festival is an important event of music organized by the Government of Kerala, every year, in the last week of January. The venue is the famous Kuthiramalika Palace, Thiruvananthapuram, where in the great poet-king of Travancore, Sri Swathi Thirunal, composed many of his verses.

Jaganath Festival

Jagannatha Festival is a colourful eight-day festival, which is held in the Malayalam month of Kumbham (February/ March) at the Jagannatha Temple at Madathiparambu, near Thalassery in Kannur.

Aranmula Uthrittathi – snake boat carnival
The famous snake boat carnival on the Pampa, held annually at Aranmula on the day of Uthrittathi asterism, in connection with the Onam festival. It is to commemorate the crossing of the river by Lord Krishna on that day. The deity is supposed to be kept in all the boats that take part in the carnival.

Mahadeva Temple Mahotsavam
Mahadeva Temple Mahotsavam, Chengamanad, Aluva, Ernakulam highlights Deepakazhcha, illumination by traditional lamps fixed on the outer walls of the temple. on the last two evenings of the festival Ottamthullal, Chakyarkoothu or Kurathiyattam are performed.

Sivagiri Mutt, Thiruvananthapuram
Sree Narayana Guru was the King of a social revolution that transformed the caste-ridden society of Kerala. The Guru Deva Jayanti, the birthday of the Guru, and the Samadhi day are befittingly celebrated in August and September respectively every year

This temple was founded in 1916 by Sree Narayana Guru , Lord Siva is the deity consecrated in the temple which has since been opened to all irrespective of caste or creed. Eight -day festivals are conducted in March- April every year.

Maramon Convention
The largest Christian Convention in Asia, the Maramon is held on the sands of River Pampa, at Kozhancheri, near Tiruvalla in Pathanamthitta district Kerala. Every year thousands of Christians attend the convention to hear the Word of God and seek His grace. Erudite orators from various countries address the 10-day long convention. Of the years Maramon has become a meeting place of culture and tradition.

Preaching and Bible studies occupy the major part of the conference Along with the religious discourse, special prayers or indisposed are also held.

Parumala Pally Perunal ,Thiruvalla
Parumala Perunal is held at the St. Peters & St. Paul's Orthodox Church in Parumala, Thiruvalla where His Holiness Mar Gregorios Metropolitan, the declared saint of the Malankara Orthodox Church in Kerala takes his eternal rest

Manarcad Pally Perunal, Kottayam.
Manarcad Perunal is the annual feast at the St.Mary's Church at Manarcad, Kottayam. Ettunombu Perunal (literally the eight day prayer and fasting)at this church is welknown .This is the feast of Immaculate Conception celebrated by the Christian community of Kerala from 1st to 8th September.

Kothamangalam Cheriyapally Perunal
The people of Kothamangalam celebrate the Cheriyapally festival on October 2 and 3 with piety and festivity. The colourful ‘Rasa’ (Ceremonial procession) of the festival days is led by a Nair youth from the Chakkala family carrying a traditional lamp recalling how his ancestor escorted Bawa to the Church. The Kanni 20 Perunnal is an auspicious time to pay homage to Bawa. This brings devotees from near and far for a great religious and cultural meet. People come to this Church all throughout the year. Devotees are well taken care of by the Church Managing committee. Free food and accommodation are provided to the devotees

Edathua Pally perunal
The Edathua Church feast at Edathua, a massive shrine on the banks of the River Pamba, near Thiruvlla, is dedicated to St. George. During the feast at Edathua Church, the statue of St. George, decked in gold is carried out in procession and placed on the dais at the centre of the Basilica .Devoties from tamil nadu also attend the festival.

Vallarpadom Pally perunal
The Portuguese missionaries established the historic Church of Our Lady of Ransom at Vallarpadom Island in Kochi, in 1524. The Old Church, then known as the Church of Holy Spirit, is supposed to have been destroyed in a flood in the late 17th century and a new church was built on the same spot in 1676

Koratty Muthy Orma Perunnal
Orma Perunnal is the commemoration feast held at the church dedicated to St. Mary's Forana Church in Koratty, Thrissur

The feast of St. Sebastian is celebrated on a grand scale for eleven days in a year at St. Andrew's Forance Church at Arthunkal is known as Arthungal feast. The church is one of the sacred churches in Kerala, attracts lakhs of devotees both Christians and non-Christians every year from allover India. Owing to the unmanageable crowding of pilgrims and the resultant confusion on January 20 the final day of the feast, the church authorities have instituted another minor feast on the 8th day after the principal feast. This is known as Ettamperunnal. Of late this feast also has attained as much importance as the principal feast.


Every year 'Forty hour devotion' marks the commencement of the festival. The festival begins on the 23rd of April with solemn High Mass and Litany. On the 25th flag is hoisted solemnly and ceremoniously .


Mainly two feasts are celebrated in this church, one on the 24th and 25th of Makaram (January-February) and the other on 23rd of Medam (April-May). The former is the most important
Refer: www.kadamattomchurch.org

St. Thomas shrine at Malayattur is located about 9 km to the north of Kaladi Ernakulam District is believed to be one of the ancient catholic shrines. The chief festival at the shrine is second Sunday, since the first moon, after the Vernal Equinox (March 21). The Feast, therefore, falls generally in the month of April or at times in the last week of March. The Octave is celebrated on the following Sunday. The pilgrims have to climb a hill nearly 2000 feet high and on top of it is the church.

The church and Dayara at Manjinikkara derives its importance from the holy tomb there. The sacred body of the late lgnatius Elise III, the holy patriarch of Antioch and all the East was interned there. Members of the Jacobite Syrian Church believe that the Holy Father was a Saint. The Church has now become one of the foremost places of pilgrimage.

St. Thomas is believed to have visited Niranam in 53AD, erected a crucifix founded and built a church there. The main religious festival is in honour of the Holy Mother on August 15. Special mass is held on that day. The birthday of St. Mary is celebrated on a grand scale on 8th September. The feast of St. Thomas is celebrated on 3rd July.

The feast of St. Dominic church at Aluva falls on the third Sunday after the Easter. The statue of the Saint is taken out in procession on that day. The feast of "Our Lady of the Holy Rosary" also consists of a spectacular procession on the Sunday after 8th of December.

Vettukadu Perunal
The Madre De Teus Church, popularly known as Vettukadu church, is situated around 7 kms from Thiruvananthapuram. The annual festival of the church is celebrated over the ten days culminating in the last Sunday of the liturgical year. Various religious rites are carried out during the festival days.

St.Mary's Church at Kallooppara stands in close proximity to the Kallooppara Bhagavathy temple. Inside the church, on its eastern and western wings, there are two granite slabs with some inscriptions in the Pali language. The Palli perunal and the foundation day of the Church are the two celebrations held on January 15 and July 5 respectively.

Bakrid, to be rightly called Idul-Azha or the festival of sacrifice, is the second of the two festivals of Islam. Muslims observe this festival all over the world. It falls on the 10th of Dhul-Hagg, the last month of the lunar year. It is celebrated in commemoration of Abraham's willingness to offer his only son as a sacrifice at God's command. In Kerala as in other parts of the world, this day dawns with the resounding of Thakhir (Allahu Akbar), the declaration that God are great. Every Muslim house wakes up with the spirit of sacrifice and festivity. Men, women and children, dressed themselves in their best attire and reciting the Thakbir, proceed to Id-Gah which is the wide open space set apart for public prayers. The whole atmosphere is filled with the resonance of "Allahu-Akbar".
The famous Haj is performed after the celebration of Idul Azha.

Idul Fitr
Idul Fitr is celebrated after the conclusion of the Ramzan fast when Muslims give up all kind of food and drink during the day and spend the major part of the night for prayer.

Miladi Sharif
Mohammed, the Prophet of Islam, was born on the 20th April, 571 AD. Muslims all over the world celebrate the birth of the Prophet in various ways. Reading what is commonly known as the Maulod' which is a short biography of the Prophet written both in verse and prose in the Arabic language has been the common ritual of the day. Of late in Kerala, there has developed another practice connected with the Miladi Sharif. Night lectures are organised during the first twelve days of the month when Muslim Ulemas through their discourses enlighten the people on the various aspects of the life of the Prophet.

Muharram, the forbidden month, is the opening month of the Hejira year. The Sunnies as well as the Shias all over the world celebrate the 10th day of the month. It was on this day that God is believed to have created Adam and Eve and that the Pharoah of Egypt and his countrymen were drowned in the Red Sea by the will of the Almighty. Again it was on this day that the most lamentable carnage at Kerbala took place in 680 A.D. The 10th day of this month (May) is honored by the Muslims of Kerala. As per belief, it was on this day that the Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed, and his men were slain at Karbala.

Chandankudam at Beemapally

The Chandankudam at Beemapally near Thiruvananthapuram is one of the most colourful Muslim festivals in Kerala. It is said to be the death anniversary of Beema
Beeevi, a devout pilgrim lady .The festival begins on the 1st of Jamadul Akhar of the Hijira Era (October) and lasts for ten days.

Pattambi Nercha

Pattambi Nercha, is a festival held at Pattambi Mosque Palakkad in memory of Aloor Valiya Pookunjikoya Thangal, a Muslim saint of Malabar

There is an ancient Jain Temple at Jainamedu near the Palakad town. According to a legend, one Sutar, head of the Jains, built this temple 500 years ago for the Jain sage Chandranathaswamy.

“Among the Jewish festivals, the Sabbath (Saturday) occupies the pride of place. The Sabbath gives the laborer every week a day of rest and leisure.

Passover or the feast of unleavened bread is one commemorating the birth of Israel as a nation and deliverance of the Jews from the Egyptian slavery. It falls in April or May.
Pentecost is another Jewish festival held in May-June. It has an agricultural and historical significance.

The feast of Tabernacle is another pilgrim festival falling in either September or October. During this feast, Jews set temporary booths covered with palm leaves and decorated with citrus and other fruits.

The Jewish New Year falls in September or October. It is not a time for revelry, but a solemn season for self-assessment and judgment in the life of the Jew.

The Day of Atonement following the New Year is the most solemn day in the Jewish calendar. Not a morsel of food or a drop of water will pass the lips of the observant Jews from subset of the previous day till after the nightfall of the next day.

The Jews will be in the synagogue of devoting themselves to fervent prayers. The Hanukkah or the festival of lights is another popular celebration of the Jews.”

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