Top 10 Festivals in Kerala

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If you are looking for a unique cultural experience, then Kerala should be at the top of your list. This southern Indian state is known for its vibrant festivals, which are celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy. From colorful processions to traditional dance performances, there is something for everyone in Kerala. In this article, we will explore the top 10 festivals in Kerala that you should not miss.

1. Onam

Onam is the most important festival in Kerala and is celebrated in August or September every year. It is a harvest festival that marks the homecoming of the mythical King Mahabali. People decorate their homes with flowers and create a floral carpet called Pookkalam. The highlight of Onam is the snake boat race, where boats with up to 100 rowers compete on the backwaters.

2. Vishu

Vishu is the New Year festival of Kerala, celebrated in April. The day starts with the traditional ritual of Kani Kanal, where people view auspicious items like gold, flowers, and fruits, as the first thing in the morning. Vishu is also a time when people prepare special dishes like Vishu Kanji and eat them together as a family.

3. Thrissur Pooram

Thrissur Pooram is a spectacular festival that takes place in the city of Thrissur in April or May. It is a celebration of the grandeur and beauty of Kerala’s temples. The festival involves a colorful procession of elephants, traditional music, and percussion performances. The highlight of Thrissur Pooram is the display of brightly lit parasols, called Kudamattom.

4. Theyyam

Theyyam is a popular ritualistic festival of North Kerala, celebrated between December and April. It is a unique dance form that combines music, art, and devotion. The performers, dressed in colorful costumes, transform into deities and perform intricate dance moves. Theyyam is considered a way to connect with the divine and seek blessings.

5. Navratri

Navratri is a nine-day festival celebrated in Kerala and other parts of India. It is dedicated to the worship of Goddess Durga and her nine incarnations. Navratri is celebrated with great devotion, and people observe fasts and perform special rituals. The last three days of Navratri, called Durga Puja, are the most important and involve grand processions and traditional dance performances.

6. Christmas

Christmas is celebrated with great joy in Kerala, especially in the coastal areas. The state has a large Christian population, and the festival is celebrated with traditional carols, decorations, and feasts. The highlight of Christmas in Kerala is the midnight mass, where people gather to sing hymns and pray.

7. Eid al-Fitr

Eid al-Fitr is a festival that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting. It is celebrated with great enthusiasm in Kerala, which has a significant Muslim population. People dress in new clothes and visit mosques to offer prayers. Traditional dishes like biryani and payasam are prepared and shared with family and friends.

8. Maha Shivaratri

Maha Shivaratri is a festival dedicated to Lord Shiva and is celebrated in February or March. The day is considered auspicious for fasting and visiting Shiva temples. In Kerala, the festival is celebrated with traditional dance performances like Thiruvathira Kali and Kummattikali.

9. Nehru Trophy Boat Race

The Nehru Trophy Boat Race is an annual event held in August on the Punnamada Lake in Alappuzha. The race involves snake boats, which are long, wooden boats with a pointed prow and a raised stern. Each boat is manned by over a hundred rowers, who row in unison to the beat of traditional songs and drums. The Nehru Trophy Boat Race is a thrilling spectacle that attracts thousands of visitors from around the world.

10. Eid al-Adha

Eid al-Adha, also known as Bakrid, is a festival celebrated by Muslims around the world. It marks the end of Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. In Kerala, Eid al-Adha is celebrated with great enthusiasm, and people dress in new clothes and visit mosques to offer prayers. Traditional dishes like biryani and kebabs are prepared and shared with family and friends.

In conclusion, Kerala is a land of festivals and celebrations. Each festival has its unique charm and significance, and they offer a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the state. Whether it’s the grandeur of Thrissur Pooram or the spiritual fervor of Theyyam, the festivals of Kerala are a must-see for anyone looking for an authentic cultural experience.


  1. What is the best time to visit Kerala for festivals? The best time to visit Kerala for festivals is during the winter months, from November to February, when the weather is pleasant and many festivals are celebrated.
  2. Which festival is the most popular in Kerala? Onam is the most popular festival in Kerala and is celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy.
  3. Can tourists participate in Kerala’s festivals? Yes, tourists are welcome to participate in Kerala’s festivals and experience the rich cultural heritage of the state.
  4. What is the significance of Pookkalam in Onam? Pookkalam is a floral carpet made of flowers and petals, which is created during the festival of Onam. It is a symbol of abundance and prosperity.
  5. What is the importance of the Nehru Trophy Boat Race? The Nehru Trophy Boat Race is an important event in Kerala’s cultural calendar, and it symbolizes the spirit of unity and cooperation among the people of the state.
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Upendra Yadav is a seasoned Data Analyst with a passion for exploring new places and immersing himself in different cultures. With a curious mind and an eye for detail, Upendra delves deep into the history, people, and cuisine of the places he visits, and brings his experiences to life through his writing.. His work has been featured in various travel blogs, where he shares his insights and recommendations for fellow explorers. Through his writing, Upendra aims to inspire others to venture beyond their comfort zones and discover the hidden gems of the world. When he's not analyzing data or traveling to new destinations, Upendra can be found indulging in his other hobbies, such as photography and trying out new recipes. He is currently working on his next travelogue, where he hopes to take his readers on a journey to even more exciting and lesser-known destinations.