The colorful mosaic of Kerala fairs and festivals is as diverse as the land, is an expression of the spirit of celebration, that is an essential part of the State. Observed with enthusiasm and gaiety, festivals are like gems, ornamenting the crown of Kerala tradition and culture. Round the year the fests keep Kerala life vibrant and interludes in the mundane affairs of life.
Onam is the biggest festival in the Indian state of Kerala. Onam Festival falls during the Malayali month of Chingam (Aug - Sep) and marks the homecoming of legendary King Mahabali. Carnival of Onam lasts for ten days and brings out the best of Kerala culture and tradition. Intricately decorated Pookalam, ambrosial Onasadya, breathtaking Snake Boat Race and exotic Kaikottikali dance are some of the most remarkable features of Onam - the harvest festival in Kerala.
The festival of Vishu is celebrated with joy and mirth on the first day of Malayalese month of Medam. This corresponds to the month of April-May according to Gregorian calendar. The occasion holds a lot of significance for Hindus as Vishu marks the Astronomical New Year Day.
Thrissur Pooram Festival:
Thrissur Pooram Festival is the most strikingly colorful and popular festival of Kerala. The festival has got its name from the city of Thrissur or Trichur where the festival takes place and the word 'Pooram', which literally means 'a group or a meeting'. It is a belief among the people of Kerala that every year the gods and goddesses of the neighboring province meet each other for a day of celebration.
Payippad Jelotsavam Festival:
Payippad Jelotsavam held in memory for the Prathista ceremony of Haripad Subramanya temple and therefore has a religious significance. This festival is celeberated for three days commencing from the Onam festival day. Snake boat processions are taken out on the first two days and competitive boat race take place on the third day.
Attukal Pongala Festival:
Attukal Pongala this is the one and the only temple festival in the world where lakhs of women assembled together to make offerings by cooking a pudding for the goddess in the Attukal temple. It is taken home after the chief priest of the temple will come and sprinkle the holy water and will shower the flowers. This festival will come to an end in the evening with a procession from the temple.
Makaravillakku at Sabarimala Festival:
Makara Vilakku Pooja is a seven-day festival conducted annually in the famous Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala. The festival begins on the auspicious day of Makara Sankranthi, the day on which the sun is in summer solstice (vernal equinox). This is also the first day of the Malayalese month of Makaram. Makara Vilakku Pooja commemorates the day on which idol of Lord Ayyappa or Dharma Sastha was enshrined in the temple and is the most important event to be conducted at Sabarimala. Thousands of devotees gather to participate in the celebrations of Makara Vilakku every year. Mandala Pooja festival extends to 41 days prior to Makara Sankranthi.
Theyyam is a popular ritual art of north Kerala. It is rich in culture and is essentially a dance festival. Theyyam is said to be corrupted form of the word 'Deivam' meaning God and 'Aattam' means dance. The meaning of Theyyam thus becomes 'God's dance'. In Theyyam people worship deity and dancer is also the deity. In this art devotees worship Mother Goddess. Though animals, serpents and trees are also worshiped by many.