Festivals

Kerala is a land of colourful festivals, which have a long history and tradition behind them. Kerala's innumerable festivals however stand out because of their uniqueness. The festivals listed here are sorted district-wise.

Jump to a District:

1. Thiruvananthapuram 2. Kollam
3. Pathanamthitta
4. Alappuzha
5. Kottayam
6. Idukki
7. Ernakulam
8. Thrissur
9. Palakkad
10. Malappuram
11. Kozhikode
12. Wayanad
13. Kannur
14. Kasargod

Thiruvananthapuram

Onam (August/September):
Atham pookkalam - Onam Festival of KeralaOnarn is one of the most widely celebrated festivals of Kerala, and it commemorates the legendary rule of King Mahabali, during whose reign people were so happy that it  aroused the jealousy of the gods. To mark the Onam festivities, the Tourism Week is celebrated across the State. In the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram, the streets are illuminated and a unique package of traditional and cultural programmes are staged at the Kanakakkunnu Palace and other landmark points. It culminates in a colourful carnival hich the vast majority of the populace turn out to watch. Read More >>

Arattu:

The vetta and arattu processions are held twice a year from the Padmanabha Swamy Temple to Shankhumugham Beach, led by the members of the royal family of erstwhile Iravancore. The idols from the temple are taken for a ritual purification in the sea. Cultural performances, including Kathakali, are staged during the occaston.

Attukal Pongala:

The ten-day Pongala festival held at Attukal Bhagavathy Temple, 2 km from Thiruvananthapuram, attracts thousands of female devotees from many parts of the country  Men are not allowed in the vicinity of the temple during the Pongala. Pongala, a kind of sweet porridge, considered to be the goddess' favourite offering, is cooked by each devotee in a clay pot over an open fire. The long line of women making the ritual offering extends up to East Fort and beyond.

Chandanakudam Mahotsavam:

This colourful Islamic festival is celebrated to commemorate Bee Umma, a saintly lady, whose tomb is in Beemapally near Thiruvananthapuram. Devotees bring money in pots decorated with flowers, incense sticks and sandalwood paste as offering during the festival

Nishagandhi Dance and Music Festival:

This festival of Indian classical dances and music is held at the Nishagandhi Open Air Theatre, Kanakakkunnu Palace Grounds, Thiruvananthapuram • Bharathanatyam •Kathak • Kathakali• Kuchipudi • Manipuri• Mohiniyattom • Odissi• Specially choreographed ballets combining one or more of these classical dance forms• Classical music (instrumental and vocal) • Jugalbandi (concerts) are performed in the evenings.

Feast of Christ at Madre Deus Church, Vettukadu:

Highlights: • Special devotional rites. Eucharistic procession (Third week of November) Handicrafts Heritage - Kerala: Held at Kanakakkunnu Palace. Conducted in  connection with the All India Handicraft Week Celebrations. Highlights: • Display and sale of meticulously crafted articles unique to the State (December)

Paramparya:

The Ashtamudi arts and crafts festival held at the Asramam Maidan. Highlights: • Exhibition of the traditional arts, crafts and architectural themes of Kerala (December)

Agri Fest:

Held at Kanakakkunnu Palace, it is the largest agricultural fair in the State. Highlights: • Cultural shows. Variety entertainment (January)

Flower Show:

Held at Kanakakkunnu Palace grounds. Highlights: • Floral decorations • Cultural shows. Fashion shows (January)

Swathi Sangeethotsavam:

Held at Kuthiramalika Palace. Annual classical music festival organised in honour of King Swathi Thirunal. Highlights: • An august gathering of eminent musicians from across India (January)

Utsavam at Paripally Kodimootil Sree Bhadrakali Temple:

• Elephants offered as ritual offering. Highlights: • Cultural programmes• Gajamela (elephant pageant) (February)

Utsavam at Sreekandeswaram Temple:

Ph: 0470-2603612, Highlights: • Kodiyettam • Ezhunallathu • Pallivetta • Kathakali • Ottanthullal (December)

Utsavam at Janardhana Swamy Temple, Varkala:

Highlights: • Rituals. Pallivetta • Arattu procession. Kathakali (March)


Kollam

Elephant Pageant:

During March, the Sree Krishna Swamy Temple at Ashramam celebrates its annual elephant festival. The highlight is the colourful pageantry involving over 40 elephants on the grounds opposite the Ashramam Tourist Village. Ph: 0474-2752288

Crafts Festival:

Held annually during December-January, this festival features the work of craftsmen from all over the country.


Pathanamthitta

Mandala Pooja at Sree Dharmasastha Temple, Sabarimala:

The day marks the end of 41 days of austerities and prayer (December)

Other Festivals:

  • Thekkekudi Utsavam (December), Mahasivaratri

  • Gajamela at Parthasarathy Temple, Adoor. Highlights: Grand elephant procession (January)

  • Thaipooya Mahotsavam at Sree subramanya Swamy Temple. Highlights: Thaipooya kavadiyattam, Chuttuvilakku (January)

  • Utsavam at Sree parthasarathy Temple, Aranmula. Highlights: Kodiyettam, Ritual arts, Kathakali, Pallivetta, Arattu (January)

  • Utsavam at Poruvazhi Malanadam Temple. Highlights: Folk arts, Kettukazhcha procession with 'kaala' (bull motif), kuthira vela (horse motif) and decorated temple chariot (March)

Alappuzha

Utsavam at Kandiyur Mahadeva Temple

Highlights: • Kodiyettam • Arattu • Kathakali and Ottanthullal (December)

Utsavam at Sree Karthyayini Temple

Highlights: • Kodiyettam • Arattu • Elephant pageantry • Panchavadyam • Chendamelam • Ritual arts • Kathakali (March)

Utsavam at Sree Krishna Swamy Temple

Daily offering of palpayasam (milk sweet). Highlights: • Kodiyettam • Velakali • Padayani • Community feast • Ritual procession • Ambanattu Panikkar Varavu • Pallivetta (March)

Other Festivals:

  • Mannarasala Serpent Temple, Harippad (October/November)

  • Chirappu Mahotsavam, Mullackal Temple (December)

  • Chirappu Mahotsavam, Kidangamparampu Temple (December)

  • Chandanakudam, Kakkazhom Juma Masjid

  • Arthungal Perunnal (January)

  • Edathua Perunnal (May)

  • Thumpoli Church Perunnal

  • Chettikulangara Kettukazhcha (February/ March)

  • Aravukad Devi Temple, Punnapra (March/April)


Kottayam

  • Mahotsavam at Thrichenganoor Mahadeva Temple: Highlights: Processions, arattu, classical and folk arts (December)

  • Utsavam at Bhagavathy Temple: Highlights: Processions, velakali, mayura nritham, thalappoli, kathakali, arattu (November)

  • Flower show and food fest (Third week of January)

  • Erumeli petta thullal (January) Highlights: Chandanakudam at Vavarambalam, petta thullal at the Sastha Temple, grand elephant pageants, band music, nadaswara melam, other musical ensembles and cultural programmes

  • Vaikathashtami (November/December): 12 day festival - Ashtami day is the most auspicious. Highlights: Elephant processions, musical ensembles, fireworks, kathakali, ottamthullal, pathakam, velakali and other music - dance performances

  • Ettumanoor Ezharapponnana (February / March) Highlights: Arattu, procession of the ezharapponnana, elephant pageant, cultural performances

  • Puthurpalli Chandanakudam, Changanacherry: The two-day festival begins on Christmas day from the puthurpalli Mosque. Highlights: The chandanakudam procession of five to seven tuskers, cultural performances, musical ensembles, firework displays

  • Ponadu Chootu Padayani: Annual festival at the ancient Bhagavathy Temple in Meenachil Taluk. Highlights: Bunches of dry palm fronds (chootu) are lit and carried in procession around the temple before the performances. Padayani performers then hit each other with the burning chootu.


Idukki

  • Sree Sastha Temple (January) – highlight: folk arts  Place - Vazhathope.

  • Nedumkandam – tourism festival (January - 10 days). Place - Nedumkandam.

  • 100 Acre Temple – kavidi, art forms etc. (January/February, 3 days). Place - Adimali.

  • Ramakkalmedu Annapoorneswari Temple – ponkala. (February) Place - Karunapuram.

  • Santhigiri Sree Maheswara Temple: elephants’ parade with percussion music, cultural programs etc.(February, 5 days) (finale on Sivarathri day). Place - Adimali.

  • Sastha Temple, Vandiperiyar : elephants’ parade with percussion music, kavidi etc. (February) Place - Thekkady.

  • Nalampara Siva Temple, Amaravathy : elephants’ parade with percussion music. (February) Place - Kumali.

  • Kanjiramattom Siva Temple: elephants’ parade with percussion music. (February) Place - Thodupuzha.

  • Mahadeva Temple: elephants’ parade with percussion music. (February) Place - Thodupuzha.

  • Muniyara Siva Temple – thalapoli: elephants’ parade with percussion music. (February) Place - Adimali.

  • Rajakode Mahadeva Temple : elephants’ parade with percussion music (stage programs starting 7 days prior). (February) Place - Adimali.

  • Karikode Devi Temple – thalapoli: elephants’ parade with percussion music, garudan thookkam (last day) 2 days. (February) Place - Thodupuzha.

  • Cheruvallikkavu : elephants’ parade with percussion music. (February) Place - Adimali.

  • Mahaganapathy Temple :elephants’ parade with percussion music,art form(3 days). (February) Place - Kumali.

  • Mahavishnu Temple, Rajakode :elephants’ parade with percussion music, cultural programs (4 days). (March) Place - Mangathotti.

  • Kallurkadu Bhagawathy Temple – mudiyettu (3 days). (March) Place - Thodupuzha.

  • Panikkankudi Mangaleswari Temple : elephants’ parade with percussion music ,art forms. (March) Place - Adimali.

  • Kali Temple, Muthirapuzha : elephants’ parade with percussion music. (March) Place - Adimali.

  • Peruvanthanam Valliyankavu Devi Temple – ponkala, thalapoli.  Mundakayam. (March)

  • Kabilikandam Sree Swayamvara Parvathy Temple : elephants’ parade with percussion music, art forms etc.(3 days). (March) Place - Adimali.

  • Purapuzha Bhagawathy Temple – mudiyettu (4 days). (March) Place - Thodupuzha.

  • Valliyanikkad Bhagawathy Temple – mudiyettu, thookkam,makam thozhal on 6th day today(7 days). (March) Place - Kumaramangalam.

  • Valliyanikad Bhagawathy Temple – thalapoli – kavidi. (March) Pace - Kumaramangalam.

  • Parathode Pullukandam Dharmasastha Temple : elephants’ parade with percussion music, art forms(3 days). (April) Place - Adimali.

  • Sreekrishna Temple : elephants’ parade with percussion music, kathakali (10-days). (April) Place - Thodupuzha.

  • Sreekrishna Temple, Peermedu : elephants’ parade with percussion music, kavidi (10-days). (April) Place -  Kumali.

  • Narznath Sreekrishnsway Temple : elephants’ parade with percussion music, cultural programs(10-days). (April) Place - Thodupuzha.

  • Thekkady Devi Temple – ponkala – procession art forms. (April) Place - Kumali.

  • St George Church – colorful provession (3 days). (April) Place - Thodupuzha.

  • Kallimali Bhadrakali Temple – ponkala. (April) Place - Rajakkad.

  • Paliyakkudi Temple : elephants’ parade with percussion music,nritham, art forms(3-days). (April) Place - Labbakandom.

  • Ramakkalammedu Annapoorneswari Temple – colorful procession with art forms, padayani etc. (April) Place - Karunapuram.

  • Manngaladevi Temple : elephants’ parade with percussion music, rituals etc. (April) Place - Kumali.

  • Adimali Town – thookkam ritual. (December) Place - Adimali.


Ernakulam

  • Utsavam at Mahadeva Temple. Highlights: Ritual procession, Kathakali, Classical music recitals, Ashtami (November)

  • Utsavam at Sree Poornathrayeesa Temple. Highlights: Kanikka edal (offerings placed in a golden pot), Kathakali, Chakyarkoothu, Ottonthullal, Music concerts (December)

  • Mahotsavam at Mahadeva Temple. Highlights: Deepakazhcha, illumination of traditional lamps, Ottomthullal, Chakyarkoothu, Kurathiyattam, Elephants pageants (December)

  • Tourism Week Celebration - A secular festival that brings together the thirteen communities living in Kochi. Highlights: Food festival, Procession of theme floats, Gajamela (elephant pageants), Music concerts, Jalamela (water fiestas), Cultural programmes.

  • Boat race (December) - Indira Gandhi Boat Race on the Kochi backwaters.

  • Utsavam at Siva Temple. Highlights: Seeveli, panchavadyam, Pakalpooram, Kathakali, Music concerts, Arattu (January)

  • International Contemporary Dance Festival. Assemblage of artistes from India, Europe and the Far East. (January).

  • Gramam - An entire Kerala village is recreated during this ten-day long festival. Highlights: Arts and crafts fair, Kathakali, Thiruvathirakali, Mohiniyattom, Oppana, Kalaripayattu, Sarpapattu, Theyyam, Panchavadyam, Chakyarkoothu, Ottanthullal (February).

  • Utsavam at Sree Rajarajeswari Temple. Highlights: Arattu, Makamthozhal (special rite) Chottanikkara Makam, Pooram on the eighth day, Grand fireworks, Art forms, Cultural Performances (February)

  • Kakkoor Kalavayal. A traditional post-harvest festival of the peasants of Kakkoor. Highlights: Exhibition of agricultural products, implements, and other traditional crafts, Folk arts, Music concerts, Elephant processions, Bullock race (March)

  • Bharani festival at Sree Kurumba Bhagavathy Temple. Highlights: Cultural programmes, Devotional rites (April)

  • Onam festival. Highlights: Elephant procession, Colourful floats, Musical ensembles, Ritual and folk art forms (September)

  • Aluva Sivarathri at Siva Temple. Highlights: Night-long reading of the puranas, Rural trade fair, Cultural programmes, Vavubali (ritual in honour of the forefathers) at dawn (March)


Thrissur

  • Pooram Festival (April/May)

  • Thaipooya Mahotsavam at Sree Maheswara Temple. Highlights: Kavadiyattam, Elephant procession, Karakattam, Mayilattam (January)

  • Utsavam at Sree Krishna Temple, Guruvayoor. Highlights: Rituals, Elephant race, Cultural programmes, Krishnanattam (March)

  • Machattu Mamangam at Machattu Thiruvanikavu Temple. Highlights: Kuthirakolams (motifs of horses) given as offering, Chendamelam, Pageantries, Cultural programmes (December)

  • Uthralikavu Pooram at Sree Ruthira Mahakalikavu. Highlights: Elephant processions, Temple and folk arts, Panchavadyam, Pandimelam, All night Pooram on the concluding day (February)

  • Pulikali (tiger dance) at the Swaraj Round is part of the Onam celebrations (September)

  • Aarattupuzha Festival (March)

  • Kandassamkadavu Boat Races (August/September)


Palakkad

  • Kalpathi Ratholsavam: Annual chariot festival at Viswanatha Temple (November)

  • Vela at Manappulli Kavu: Annual festival at the Bhagavathy Temple (March)

  • Kanniyarkali: An art form exclusive to the Nair community of the district of Palakkad, Kanniyarkali is performed in temples as well as at cultural centres (Marchi/April)

  • Nenmara Vallengi Vela: Annual festival at the Bhagavathy Temple at Nellikkulangara near Nenmara, on the Pooram day of the Malayalam month of Meenam (February/March). Highlight: Firework display, Pavakkoothu: This shadow play is performed at the Bhagavathy temples of Palakkad (Marchi April)

  • Kaalapoottu: This exciting ox race is an agrarian sport held in the Malayalam month of Makaram (January)

  • Konganpada of Chittur: Annual festival of ritual drama at the Chittur Kavu Bhagavathy Temple (February/March)

  • Pattambi Nercha: The festival is conducted in memory of Aloor Valia Pookkunjikoya Thangal, noted Muslim saint of South Malabar (January - February)

  • Pooram at Sree Chinakkathoor Bhagavathy Temple. Highlights: Elephant procession, Panchavadyam, Velattu, Thiral Theyyam, Pootham, Kaalavela, Kuthiravela, Aandi Vedan, Karivela, Tholpavakoothu, Kumbhamkali (February)

  • Pooram at Pariyanampetta Bhagavathy Temple. Highlights: Tholpavakoothu, Kalamezhuthupattu, Pootham, Thira, Karivela, Kaalavela, Kuthiravela, Kathakali, Chakyarkoothu, Elephant procession (February)


Malappuram

  • Thirumandhamkunnu Pooram (March - April)

  • Kottakkal Pooram (Marcil - April)' Nilambur Pattu (February)

  • Kondotty Nercha (March)


Kozhikode

  • Malabar Mahotsavam (Jan-Feb): A grand festival of the Malabar region where one can see a kaleidoscope of the traditional and cultural art forms that make it a spectacular cultural extravaganza

  • Sivarathri (February) • Utsavam at Sreekanteswara Temple (February/March)

  • Jalotsavam: As part of the Onam festivals three Jalotsavams (water fiestas) are held every year by sports clubs at Korappuzha, Moorad and Pongilodippara.  There are colourful cultural pageants that precede the boat races on Onam day (August/September).

  • Malabar Pepper Fest. An annual event for spice traders when gourmets and gastronomic experts explore the spice coast (February). Kondotti Nercha at Kondotti Mosque.

  • The Valia Nercha (great vow) festival attracts large crowds of devotees (March)


Wayanad

  • Valliyurkavu Bhagavathy Temple: Located 8 km east of Mananthavady Town, the temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga. The two week long  festival in Februory/ March is attended by hundreds of tribals

  • Thirunelly Temple (August)

  • Seethadevi Temple (January)

  • Pallikkunnu Church (February)

  • Nadavayal St. Thomas Church (January)

  • Varambatta Mosque (March)

  • Mardoni Mosque (March-April)


Kannur

  • Theyyam festivals at various temples (December - May)

  • Kottiyoor festival (May-June/July)

  • Annual eight-day utsavam at Jagannatha Temple Highlights: Religious conferences, Elephant processions, Fireworks display, Cultural programmes (February)


Kasargod

  • Pattutsavam, Madiyan Kovilakam, Kanhangad: Nine day annual festival (January). Highlights: Cultural performances, religious rites, grand elephant processions - Chaliyaporattu festival.

  • Chuliyar Bhagavathy Temple, Aniyal Theru (3 km from Kanhangad): Annual festival named after the popular folk art of the name, prevalent in North Kerala (March)

  • Palakunnu Bharani: The event is marked by processions and brilliant fire works. (First week of March)

  • Nileswaram Poorakali: Folk dance of men performed at the Nagacherry Bhagavathy Temple (last week of March to first week of April) - Utsavom at Pishakarikavu Temple (March)

  • Pooram at Arakkal Temple (March/ April)

  • Annual festivals at Lokanarkavu Temple (March/April, November/December)

  • Theyyam: Performed in houses, tharavads and shrines (October) - Kanathur Thevvom Kaliyattam (last week of December every year)

  • Kalom Kanipu Utsavom, Palakunnu: Women's procession with earthen pots which are later displayed at the local temple

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