Kerala Festivals | Similar Yet So Different
| ByWebindia123 Editor
Typical festivals of rural Kerala, followed by the Hindu community are called ‘Vela’s’ or ‘pooram’s’. These festivals are either enactments or re-representations of a myth, folklore or a real event that had happened in the past.
Most of these ‘vela’s or ‘pooram’s’, though based on different myths or folklores… share certain common characteristics or elements all across Kerala.
Let’s take a look.
For instance the Velichappad is believed to be a divine interpreter, through whom the will of the gods is expressed. It is believed that, he speaks by divine inspiration. There are stringent procedures that have to be undertaken and overcome before one is selected as the Velichappad and he can adorn the god’s anklets and carry his/her sword as a sign of having become the divine interpreter between the god and the people.
The Velichappad observes fasting during auspicious days and offers blessings to the devotees. The devotee’s in turn make contributions to the god, through his chosen interpreter. In most places the tradition of becoming a Velichappad is passed along to the male members belonging to different generations of the same family.
Another typical element without which, no festival in Kerala is complete is the accompaniment of various traditional percussion instruments like Chenda, Mridangam, thappitta, panchavadyam and of late the quite popular singarimelam.
These percussionists are accompanied by hordes of wind instruments like the Kombu, Nadhaswaram and other instruments like the Thappu, Mizhavu, thagil,thimila, Edakka, maddalam etc. The unique rhapsody formed by the simultaneous playing of these instruments is music to the ears of every common Malayali.
While some of the festivals are carried out within the temple or nearby premises…there are also festivals that are carried out on the streets. And most of these festivals have processions, that parade down the streets from one particular point in the village to another. These processions usually very colourful are filled with various life size forms representing characters or enactments from the myths or folklores, accompanied by the musicians and people, engulfed by the spirit of the festivities, dancing to their tunes.
And how can one forget the Elephants, which are so much part of a Malayalli’s daily life and celebrations. Right from the festivals in the famous temples like the Thrissur Pooram to the smaller celebrations in the lesser-known rural areas…elephants form an indispensable part of the Kerala festivities. A procession of caparisoned elephants is perhaps one of the most enchanting facets of the festivals in Kerala. The best of elephants are selected for the procession and given a massive make over.
They are bejeweled and covered with beautiful satin robes. Colourful silk parasols form an important part of their get up. Each of the majestic pachyderms gets the honor of bearing an umbrella holder, a peacock fan carrier (venjamaram) and a yak-tail flywhisk wielder. This exhibition of the paraphernalia of elephant decorative is called 'Aana Chamayal Pradarsanam'.
Fireworks, which usually comes towards the culmination of the festivals is another popular ingredient of Kerala’s festivals. The fireworks and crackers are believed to mark an end to the evil spirits and its control over a land and its people. It promises a fresh beginning and a new tomorrow that brings forth joy and happiness all around the place and to its people.
Though most of these festivals share many common characteristics among them…each of them are unique and special in their own ways. And the people behind these festivities make it a point to present their own festivals as differently as possible from the others.Watch Video: Kerala Festivals | Similar Yet So Different