Arthunkal Perunnal, the annual feast of St. Sebastian is celebrated in
St. Andrews Forane Church. This is a 10-day festival which falls sometime
in the beginning of January. Thousands of pilgrims who have belief in
St. Sebastian's blessings and miracles come here for the feast. He is
a patron for serious illness and protects devotees from critical accidents.
The highlights of the concluding day of the festival include an extraordinary
ritual where devotees crawl on their knees all the way from the nearby
beach to the church. Devotees who have received special favours from the
saint do this ritual known as 'Urulal nercha', and make offerings of silver
replicas of human limbs, bows and arrows etc. Afterwards there is a ceremonial
procession to the beach. Even Hindu pilgrims who return from the Shasta
temple of Sabarimala in January pay tribute to the saint by visiting the
church and taking a bath here. Arthunkal around 48 Km from Kochi is predominantly
a fishing village.