There are many religions in Kerala and people in this state have been living together in harmony in spite of many religious differences. The communal concord of the God’s Own country has been lauded by many. The variety in the religious backgrounds is due to the various cultural exchanges that took place over the years either due to foreign invasion or the native’s cultural influences by natives of other lands. The people here celebrate a lot of different kinds of festivals. Some of them are described as follows.
Christmas – one of the most celebrated events is none other than Christmas. You will find a lot of Christian Malayalis who eagerly wait for the birthday for the Jesus Christ. The Christmas celebration that came as a part and parcel of foreign invasion has now intermingled with the native culture and they celebrate it in their own little way. Message of love and brotherhood are spread as many Hindus and Muslim friends also get included in the celebration.
Onam – the harvest festival of Onam is probably the biggest festival in Kerala. There are Muslim, Hindu and Christian festival but Onam is one that connects all the Keralites for this festival focusses not on the religion but as a time of celebration because of the great harvest they have got. It was started by much older generations many years ago but now it is a tradition and one of the biggest festivals celebrated in south India.
Thiruvathira – The festival dedicated to Lord Shiva is celebrate with great pomp and show by the women during the month of December-January, due in the Malayalam month of Dhanu. In this festival women offer prayers to Lord Shiva, perform dance and pray for prosperous and marital bliss. This festival in Kerala is important among Nair and Nampoothiri familiers.
Vishu – Vishu is a hindu festival celebrate in the Indian state of Kerala as the mark of New Year. It is the first day of the year in Kerala and is celebrate with in an auspicious way with great joy and celebration, with the belief that if the first day of the New year is celebrate in an auspicious way, the happiness, joy and prosperity will continue for the rest of the year. The most important event of Vishu is Vishukkani which means “the first thing you see after waking up on the day of Vishu”. The celebration is done in a traditional way in Kerala to welcome New Year.
Bakrid – Another major festival is the Bakrid where all Muslim people come together and celebrate this event in a grand way. This festival is also observed all over India and over the world. To honour Hazrat Ibrahim for the sacrifice he made by killing his own son at God’s will this festival is observed. The sacrifice of a goat is mandatory for those who can afford to in order to celebrate this one in its full grandeur.
Muharram – according to the Islam the Muharram means the opening month of the Hijra year. This festival is observed to remember what the great Imam Hussein had done for his people. He was the grandson of Prophet Mohammed and he had given his life in a massacre against the enemies. All Muslims fast on this month for the entire Muharram month during the day. They don’t even drink a glass of water and after sunset they have their meal. It is interesting to know that they do it for the whole month as a ceremonial ritual.
Maha Shivratri – this festival is celebrated on a wider scale by the Hindus of Kerala. Prayers are offered to the God of destruction Shiva. The legend has it that the meaning of the festival literally means the night of the Lord Shiva when he performed a dance that had primeval creation, preservation and demolition all in one. Around February and March on the night of the new moon is when Hindus pay homage to this great God through the celebration. The devotees fast the whole day and chant the mantra ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ and sing hymns of praising Lord while in the night they stay awake drinking bhang and talking about Shiva’s greatness.