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India is a land of diverse cultures. Every state flaunts a unique blend of local folk traditions and heritage. One such example is the meridional state of Kerala, God’s Own Country. From stunning landscapes to beautiful waters, Kerala has got it all. A tourism hub, teeming with people both local and global, Kerala never fails to amaze. It is truly a cultural, geographical, and botanical wonder.

The list doesn’t end here though! Let’s not forget the multitudes of festivals celebrated in Kerela. They are mainly influenced by the state’s demography, which includes Hindus, Muslims, and Christians. A perfect example of Unity in Diversity indeed, every festival is celebrated with equal amounts of joy and pomp. To stir up your stomach juices, let us give you an overview of the 6 most famous festivals in Kerala. We will be attaching the whole Kerala Festival List below.

Kerala Festival List – Famous Festivals in Kerala

Kerala, the jewel of the Malabar, has plenty in its bag to bewilder an average person. This time, it’s the festivals celebrated in the state. Dance performances, adorned elephants, boat races, and vibrant rangolis are some of the attractions that tether people to the festivals of the land. 

  • Onam
  • Vishu
  • Thrissur Pooram 
  • Theyyam Festival
  • Adoor Gajmela
  • Kerala Boat Race
  • Swathi Sangeetholsavam
  • Beemapally Uroos
  • Thaipooyam Mahotsavam
  • Andalur Kavu Theyyam
  • Chinakkathoor Pooram
  • Pariyanampetta Pooram
  • Peruvanam Pooram
  • Arattupuzha Pooram
  • Attuvela Mahotsavam
  • Painkuni Festival
  • Vaishaka Mahotsavam
  • Palayur Church Festival
  • Feast of Vallarpadathamma
  • Navarathri Sangeetholsavam
  • Alpashi Utsavam
  • Kalpathi Ratholsavam
  • Cochin Carnival
Kerala Festival List - Theyyam Makeup
Theyyam Makeup

Story behind Onam festival

Onam is one of the most popular festivals in Kerala which has its roots in Hindu mythology. It is a general belief that Mahabali, the Asura grandson of Prahalada, came to power by defeating the Devas and taking over the three worlds. The Devas after getting defeated turned to Lord Vishnu for help. Lord Vishnu refused to join them as Mahabali was a good ruler and his devotee. Mahabali after his victory decided to perform a Yajna (a victory ritual) and declared he would grant any request during the Yajna.

Lord Vishnu decided to put Mahabali’s devotion to test. He took his fifth avatar, that of a dwarf monk called Vamana, and visited Mahabali. Vamana asked for “three paces of land” and Mahabali abided. Soon after he grew to a gigantic size and covered the world in two paces. Mahabali offered his head for the boy to step on for the third pace which Vishnu accepted as his token of devotion. Before banishing him to Patala, Lord Vishnu granted a request to Mahabali. Mahabali asked for permission to visit the land and people he ruled, once every year. The return of Mahabali marks the festival of Onam.

Importance of Onam festival

Onam is celebrated as a harvest festival in Kerela. It hosts a spectrum of cultural events like Pookkalam (flower rangoli), Pulikali (tiger dance), and other folk dance performances such as Kathakali and Thiruvathira Kali.

Famous Monuments of Eastern IndiaFamous Monuments of South India
Haryana Government SchemesFamous Monuments of North India
Rajasthan Government SchemesPunjab Government Schemes

Importance of Vishu Festival

Vishu marks the traditional Malayali New Year and is celebrated with much enthusiasm in Kerela in mid-April. It is known as Vaisakhi by the people in North India. People wear new clothes and it is believed that seeing Vishukkani first on the day of Vishu brings good luck and prosperity all year round. Sandhya is a feast organized in the wake of Vishu. Traditional festive recipes such as Vishu Kanji, Thoran, and Vishu katta are a symbolic reminder that one must expect every flavor of experience in the coming year and that no act or event is fully sweet or bitter, experiences are transitory and brief, and you ought to make the most of them.

Thrissur Pooram Festival

Thrissur Pooram is a yearly temple festival held in Thrissur, Kerala. It is considered a meeting of Devas. 50 caparisoned elephants accompanied by drums pass through the streets of Thrissur and are the main attractions of the pooram. Thrissur Pooram is considered one of the grandest gatherings in Asia. It has an important place on the tourism map of India, as tourists enjoy the charm and appeal of this pooram. The celebration concludes with a magnificent display of fireworks. 

Theyyam Festival

Theyyam Festival is about 800 years old with over 400 dance forms known as “Theyyam”, hence the name. It is considered a channel to a God and that one can seek blessings from him by performing Theyyam. It is a blend of thousand-year-old traditions rituals and customs. Some of the famous forms of Theyyam are Vishnumoorthi, based on Hiranyakashyapu’s death by Lord Vishnu in his avatar of Narasimha; Gulikan, which represents Yama, the Hindu God of Death, and Kuttichathan. The dancer along with the drummers recounts the particular ritual song, describing the myths and legends, of the folk deity to be propitiated.

Adoor Gajmela Festival

It is a pageant of tuskers wherein 9 elephants are festooned with decorations and ornaments for public display. A feast for the eyes, thousands are audience to this event that takes place in Adoor. 

Kerala Boat Race Festival

One of the main attractions and source of thrill for both the locals and tourists, the Kerala Boat Race is a sporty tradition that is celebrated. When Kerala’s backwaters meet the ‘snake boats’, great excitement is born. Vallam Kali is a major event in the boat race. Mainly conducted during the season of the harvest festival Onam in spring, this sport is enjoyed as much as a festival in Kerala.

Kerala Festival List FAQs

Which is the most popular festival in Kerala?

Onam, a harvest festival is the most popular festival in Kerala.

What festivals are celebrated in Kerala?

Some of the popular festivals celebrated in Kerala include Onam, Thrissur Pooram, Theyyam Festival, Adoor Gajmela, Kerala Boat Race, etc.

Which is Kerala’s most famous temple festival?

Thrissur Pooram is the most famous temple festival in Kerala.

When is Vishu celebrated in Kerala?

Vishu is celebrated in Kerala in mid-April.

What is Kerala boat race called?

Vallam kali is a major boat race event organized in Kerala.

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