Kerala Festivals and Traditions

Kerala Boat Races

Snake boat races are one of the biggest traditions still alive and thriving in Kerala. The name comes from the snake shaped boats that go head to head in rhythm to the old boat songs sung at full volume. These snake boats or ‘Chundan Vallam’ are up to 100 feet long and bring the serene backwaters to life. The races take place throughout the year and are a spectacular sight to see.

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The Padayani festivals of Kerala are believed to be derived from the dance performed by Lord Shiva to appease Goddess Durga. The music, masks and satirical content are part of the culture of Kerala and these performances show the mythological monsters in a variety of forms. The vibrant colours, decorations and music are all part of the tradition that goes back centuries. The Padayani celebrations are during March, April and September.



Pooram temple festivals represent the heart and soul of Kerala and entire regions come to life as the streets are brightly decorated in celebration. Beautifully bedecked elephants are led through the streets to the delight of the crowds. Each temple has their own unique rituals and traditions and Pooram festivals can be seen from February to April.

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Onam is a well renowned Hindu festival that is highly celebrated. The highlight of this festival is the Kathakali dancers and singers, with the dancers in their colourful costumes and intricate make up. Onam has been celebrated to mark the homecoming of King Mahabali who used to rule Kerala in ancient times. This festival is celebrated during the monsoon months of August and September with tourists joining in with the rainy celebrations.



Feast days or Perunnals as they are called are held in churches across Kerala and are symbolised by processions with fireworks, elaborate feasts and colourful cultural programmes that go on for days. These festivals are legendary for adding their own unique Kerala flavour to rituals practised by Christians across the globe. Feast days are a year round ritual with churches having their own calendar of dates.

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