OnamKerala's most colourful festival, Onam celebrates the home coming of King mahabali,the mythical ruler of Kerala who was pushed down to the infernal region (pathal) by Vishnu in the form of Vamana. Onam is celebrated in the month August-September which coincides with the harvest season. Onam is a festival which is celebrated for ten days. Houses are cleaned and floral decorations put up to welcome the beloved ruler.
The image of Thrikkakara Appan (Vishnu in the form of Vama) is installed in every Hindu home during the Onam season. Children go around collecting flowers for the decoration of front portion of their house in different designs and forms which change from day to day. The most important days of the festival are Uthradom Thiruvonam days. On the latter, a grand feast called Onasadhya is held in every home. The ladies of the household are up early that day to begin the preparation for this feast. The food is served in large freshly plucked plantain leaves, each item in specified order. Kichadi, pachadi, eliseri, puliseri, olan, aviyal, pappadam, banana chips, all these make up the top half, from right to left. Pickles take up the bottom left corner. But all these are just side dishes for the hot steaming puzhukkal ari (boiled rice) to be eaten with sambar, kaalan, rasam and buttermilk. Onam provides an occasion for family get-together for the Keralites. Everybody celebrates it, irrespective of religion or caste.
Pooram (Thrissur Pooram)In the hot months of April/May, attention shifts to Thrissur for the Thrissur Pooram, where caparisoned elephants , glittering umbrellas, fire works and the rising sounds of the traditional percussion ensemble combine in front of the vadakkunathan temple, offering a treat for the senses. Chenda Melam and Kodamattam are other attractions, which have gained national reputation. Thrissur Pooram is the harbinger of ‘Vedikkettu’ (fireworks). People throng in massive proportion to experience the excitement of fireworks competition. Pooram is an expression of aesthetic human minds and popular fascination for rhythm, sound and colour and it does fascinate and thrill people of all tastes.
VishuIn April/May, Malayalees celebrate Vishu, The new year of the Malayalam calendar. It is characterized in Malayali homes, by the ' first sighting ' of auspicious articles ceremoniously placed before a lamp. Elders in the family also gift token amounts of money to the younger members.
Eidul Azha & Eid-ul-FitrEidul Azha & Eid-ul-Fitr are the major Muslim festivals. Muslims enjoy a hearty feast on Eidul Azha day. Idul Azha is performed after the famous Hajj. Id-ul-Fitr is celebrated after the conclusion of Ramzan fast when Muslims give up, all kinds of food and drinks during day and spend major part of the night in prayers. Miladi Sherif (Nabi Dinam) commemorates the birth of Prophet.
ChristmasChristmas and Easter are the main festivals of Christians of Kerala. the illuminated star hangs in front of most Malayali homes. Groups of youths, singing carols are also a common sight. Christmas falls on December 25th and commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. Holy Mass is held in all churches in the state. The Christmas tree is decorated in churches an homes. The appearance of Santa Claus and the distribution of presents are highlights of the celebration. There is a feast in every Christian home.
Easter commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Maramon convention held every year in March on the river bed at Maramon under the auspices of the Marthoma Church is the biggest gathering of the Christians in Asia and the second biggest in the world.