There is a reason why Thrissur is called the cultural capital of Kerala. It contributes to a unique blend of arts and cultural festivals to the city’s social life. The colourful festivals, especially the Thrissur Pooram, attract people from different regions for its magnificent display of decked-out elephants, traditional music and glorious fireworks display.
Thrissur is also known as the land of ‘Poorams’, where Pooram means festival. Some of the best traditional festivals of Thrissur that make the city stand out include:
This is the most spectacular festival of Thrissur that is celebrated in the April-May months and was first instituted by the erstwhile Maharaja of Cochin in the late 18nth century. It is often called the pooram of poorams, meaning festival of festivals and is celebrated in the Thekkinkadu maidan of the central Vadakkumnathan temple located within the Swaraj Round. This huge ground is ideal for playing host to the lakhs of people from all religions that throng Thrissur during the Thrissur Pooram. Accompanied with drums and numerous musical instruments, deities from various temples are displayed with reverence, while elaborately dressed-up elephants are paraded. The day-long festival concludes with the country’s most colourful fireworks display.
This traditional festival falls in the months of March-April and lasts for eight days. This popular Bharani Utsavam is celebrated in the Kodungallur Bhagavathy temple and is celebrated by the devotees by symbolically wearing red-coloured costumes to please the Goddess ‘Kaavu Theendal’. It’s an amazing sight to see thousands of men and women singing and dancing in blood red apparels.
Even though this traditional festival is celebrated all over Kerala, Thrissur manages to add an additional dimension to the festival with the ‘Puli Kali’ art form which gives an extra tinge of music, colour and artistic creations. On the fourth day of Onam, a number of men are painted in minute details as lions and tigers and paraded down the streets. During the procession, they pretend to attack one another and hike up the excitement of the thousands of spectators lining the streets. The procession finally winds up at the Swaraj Round.
This auspicious day signifies the equinox and is celebrated as New Year in Kerala. It is also the auspicious time when farmers start to sow their new crop. They also offer their newly harvested crop to their deities before using it to prepare special rice dishes. New clothes are worn on this day and gifts are exchanged.
There are too many traditional festivals in Thrissur to mention here; for that, you will need to live in Thrissur to enjoy their magnificence!