Kerala wakes up to some festivals or the other every day of the year. But the spring months bring along a special air of festivals. Over a hundred festivals are celebrated in Kerala across the Malayalam months of Kumbham (Aquarius), Meenam (Pisces) and Medam (Aries). Apart from world renowed event like the Thrissur Pooram, Kerala celebrates scores of festivals, which are equally important and exotic.
It is one of the important festivals of Kerala. Vishu is celebrated in the month of April. According to the old traditional Malayalam calendar it is the 1st day of the New Year. The main event of the Vishu celebration is the 'Kani- Kanal'. Coconuts, fruits, cereals and Konna flowers are kept in big pots to prepare Kani. Behind this pot, a mirror and a garlanded statue of Krishna are kept. Early morning on the Vishu day, the master of the house sees the Kani and then the rest of the family follows. Children's are brought blind folded to see the Kani. The elders in the family give money to the youngsters and bless them. According to the local beliefs, if we you Kani good luck will stay with you till the year end.
The Navratri celebration is known by different names in different parts of India. It is Durga Puja of Bengal, Dussehra of Bombay and the Saraswati Puja and the Ayudha Puja of the south. The Navratri festival runs over 9 days. The last three days of navratri are most important. The last three days are known as Durga Ashtami, Mahanavami, and Vijaya Dasami. On the night of the Durga Ashtami day, there is the ceremony known as 'Puja Vayppu'. It involves decorating a room superbly, illuminating it with many lights and arranging on a platform, raised in the middle of the room, the things necessary for performing Saraswati Puja. During the last three days of Puja, all sorts of learning and business come to a stand still.
Onam is the most important and popular festival of Kerala. Onam is celebrated with lots of fervor and gaiety. All Malayalis, irrespective of their religion, celebrate Onam. It falls in the Malayalam month of Chingam (Aug-Sept). Onam is the harvest festival of Kerala. According to legends, Onam is celebrated to commemorate the home coming of Mahabali, the king who ruled over Kerala in the age of plenty and was pushed down to the Patala by Lord Vishnu in the form of Vamana.
The image of Thrikkakara Appan (Vishnu in the form of Vamana) is installed in every Hindu home during the Onam celebration. Children go around collecting flowers and decorating them in the front portion of their houses in different designs and patterns. Onam festival is an example of religious harmony and provides for family get-together.
Maha Shivaratri is an important festival of Hindus and is celebrated in Kumbam (Feb-March). Mahasivarathri festival commemorates the day on which Lord Shiva consumed the deadly poison (Kalakuda visham) to save the world from destruction. On the Mahashivaratri day, people throng all the prominent Shiva temples to offer their prayers to lord Shiva.