Thrissur, the cultural capital of Kerala, is known as “Poorangalude Naadu” which translates to the “land of festivals”. As the title suggests, the annual festivals or celebrations observed by Thrissurites are numerous. With various rituals and customs practised, and traditions associated with them, each of these festivals are unique. Whether it is Pooram or Perunnal, these festivals are close to the heart of every Thrissurite. Through this article, we will look into some of the most famous festivals celebrated in Thrissur.
Thrissur Pooram is the annual temple festival held at Vadakkunnathan Temple, which is situated at the heart of the city. It is regarded as the greatest of all Poorams and is celebrated every year on Pooram star in the Malayalam month of Medam. The grand elephant procession, percussion orchestra, fireworks, and huge light decorations are some of the highlights of Thrissur Pooram.
According to the Pooram custom, 10 temples participate in the Pooram festival. These temples are divided into two groups – the Western group which is the Thiruvambadi side and the Eastern group which is the Paramekkavu side. The events of the Pooram continue for a whole week and starts with a flag hoisting ceremony followed by Poora Vilambharam, Sample Vedikettu (first round of display of fireworks), Chamaya Pradarshanam, Pooram, Vedikettu (main display of fireworks), and a farewell ceremony. The Pooram Exhibition conducted in the Thekkinkadu Maidanam is another attraction of Thrissur Pooram.
Uthralikavu Pooram is the annual temple festival held at the Sree Ruthira Mahakalikavu temple located at Wadakkanchery, Thrissur. It is celebrated every year on the third Tuesday in the Kumbham month of the Malayalam calendar. This festival is famous for its grand elephant processions, firework, percussion orchestra, Kuthira Vela, and other similar folk artforms.
Puli Kali is a traditional folk art form of Kerala where performers dress like tigers; wearing a mask, painting tiger faces on their belly and stripes all over their bodies. They dance to the beats of instruments like Udukku and Thakil. As the performance is based on the theme of tiger hunting, one person dresses up as a hunter and follows the Puli Kali performers to boost the act. Puli Kali is performed in Thrissur on the fourth day of Onam in which Puli Kali troupes from different parts of the district can be seen. Thousands of people assemble in Thrissur on the fourth day of Onam to witness the vibrant Puli Kali.
Ollur Pally Perunnal
Feast of Saint Raphael, also known as Ollur Pally Perunnal or Malakhayude Perunnal, is the annual festival held at St. Anthony’s Forance Church, Ollur. This church is regarded as one of the oldest churches built in Kerala and has a long history. The festival is celebrated on 23 and 24 October every year, with a wide range of events like the Vala procession, percussion orchestra, and fireworks. The vibrant umbrellas and decorated chariot add a lot of colour to the Vala procession.
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Machad Mamangam or Machad Kuthira Vela is famous for the grand wooden horse procession celebrated along with a wide variety of folk art forms. This festival is the annual temple festival held at Thiruvanikkavu temple located near Wadakkanchery in Thrissur. The festival starts on the first Friday of Kumbham.
Puthanpally Perunnal is the annual celebration conducted at Our Lady of Dolours Basilica, Thrissur. This church is one of the tallest churches in Asia, and its annual festival is quite famous in Thrissur. The major attractions of this festival are the chariot procession around the city, mega light arrangements in the church premises, fireworks, and the percussion orchestra.
Guruvayur temple is one of the most famous temples in Kerala and its annual festival is called Guruvayur Uthsavam. It is held every year in the months of February or March. The Guruvayur Uthsavam lasts for 10 days. It begins with Aanayottam (elephant race), followed by events like elephant procession, percussion orchestra, a feast for the pilgrims, cultural programs in the Melpathur auditorium, etc.
The annual temple festival held at Arattupuzha temple in Thrissur is a must-visit event for all the Pooram lovers. The seven-day festival is unique for this event called the Sasthavinte Melam. Over 200 percussion artists perform together in the temple premises. The other attraction of Arattupuzha Pooram is that it is the largest assembly of elephants.
Buon Natale is the mega Christmas festival conducted by Thrissur Archdiocese every year in Thrissur. The event is unique for its grand procession with thousands of Santa Clauses and angels. The procession begins from the St. Thomas church in Thrissur ends at the Sakthan Thampuran ground. The event was first conducted in the year 2013 and entered the Guinness Book of Records (in 2014) for having the most number of Santa Clauses in a procession.
Peruvanam Pooram is one of the biggest Poorams that happens in Thrissur. It is the annual temple festival held at Peruvanam temple in Cherpu, Thrissur. This festival has a long history, and the rituals and traditions associated with this festival are fascinating to watch. The major attractions of this Pooram are its percussion orchestra called Pandimelam and Panjarimelam, and the elephant procession.
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As the city is known for festivals, it is impossible to list down all the festivals celebrated in Thrissur. These are some of the most popular festivals celebrated in Thrissur. Do add to this list in the comments section.