8 Fun & Festive Malayalam Holidays: Wanna Celebrate With Us?

Malayalam holidays ling app

Hold on to your lungis, folks, because we’re about to embark on a joyride through the colorful and hilarious world of Malayalam Holidays (utsavamഉത്സവം), or festivals as we call them here in India! Kerala, the Malayalam-speaking state of India, is a place where festivals are not just events, but full-blown spectacles that’ll make your jaw drop faster than a coconut falling from a tree! In the vibrant tapestry of Malayali culture, festivals hold a special place, like that secret ingredient in your grandma’s spicy fish curry.

They bring the entire community together to celebrate with fervor and gusto, because hey, who doesn’t love an excuse to dance like nobody’s watching? From the electrifying beats of Thiruvaathira to the grandeur of Onam, these festivities are an explosion of joy, laughter, and merriment that will leave you wondering if you accidentally stepped into an Indian movie set. So buckle up, grab some banana chips, and get ready to dive into the madness of the Malayalam Holidays!

Malayalam holidays - traditional performance

The Amazing Malayali Culture & Festivals

Malayali culture is richly adorned with a plethora of festivals that are celebrated with immense fervor and enthusiasm throughout the year. These festivals are a reflection of the vibrant traditions, deep-rooted spirituality, and diverse cultural heritage of Kerala. Here is a brief overview of the different kinds of Kerala holidays celebrated in Malayali culture.

Religious Festivals

A significant portion of the festivals in Malayali culture are religious in nature. These include Onam, the grand harvest festival, and Vishu, the Malayalam New Year. Other religious festivals in the Malayalam calendar, which are also marked government holidays as well as public holidays, include Maha Shivaratri, Navaratri, Kartheegai Deepam, Eid, Christmas, and Easter. These festivals involve various rituals, prayers, processions, and offerings to the deities, and are celebrated with great zeal and devotion.

Temple Festivals

Kerala is renowned for its magnificent temple festivals. These festivals, such as Thrissur Pooram, and Arattupuzha Pooram, showcase spectacular processions of caparisoned elephants, traditional music and dance performances, and breathtaking fireworks. Devotees gather in large numbers to witness these grand celebrations, which are a unique blend of spirituality, art, and cultural heritage.

Malayalam Holidays - performance

Cultural Festivals

The Malayali culture celebrates a range of cultural festivals that highlight the artistic and creative traditions of the region. These include the Kerala State Youth Festival, held annually to showcase the talents of the youth in various art forms, and the International Film Festival of Kerala, a prestigious event that attracts filmmakers, actors, and cinephiles from around the world.

Regional Holidays & Harvest Festivals

Various regional festivals are celebrated in different parts of Kerala, reflecting the diversity of the state. They include Theyyam, a unique ritualistic performance in North Malabar, and Aranmula Boat Race, a traditional snake boat race held during Onam. Harvest festivals like Makaravilakku in Sabarimala and the rice harvest festival of Pongala in Attukal Bhagavathy Temple are also widely celebrated.

Malayalam holidays - boat festival

Popular Malayalam Holidays In Kerala

Festivals, with their vibrant colors, mesmerizing music, delectable cuisine, and a sense of community bonding, form an integral part of the Malayali culture, bringing people together in joyous celebrations that showcase the cultural and spiritual fabric of Kerala.

Malayalam holidays - local food

#1 Onam (ഓണം)

Onam is the grandest and most important festival in Kerala. It is a harvest festival falling in the month of August that celebrates the homecoming of the mythical King Mahabali. Lasting for ten days, Onam is a vibrant extravaganza of colorful flower decorations, traditional dance forms like Thiruvaathira and Pulikali, boat races known as Vallam Kali, and mouth-watering feasts called Sadya.

People adorn themselves in traditional attire, participate in various cultural activities, and create beautiful floral designs called Pookalam. Onam showcases the rich cultural heritage of Kerala, with its joyful spirit, cultural performances, and the spirit of unity and harmony that pervades the festivities.

#2 Vishu (വിഷു)

Celebrated as the Malayalam New Year holiday, Vishu is a time of joy and prosperity. The highlight of the festival is the Vishukkani (വിഷുക്കണി), where an assortment of auspicious items is arranged and viewed first thing in the morning. It is also one of the most important bank holidays in Kerala in the month of April.

Malayalam holidays

#3 Thiruvaathira (തിരുവാതിര)

Thiruvaathira is a festival celebrated predominantly by women in Kerala. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati and falls on the auspicious day of Thiruvaathira star in the Malayalam month of Dhanu (December-January). Women observe a day-long fast and perform traditional dance forms like Thiruvaathira Kali, a group dance, to seek marital bliss and the well-being of their husbands.

#4 Pooram (പൂരം)

Pooram is a grand temple festival celebrated in Kerala, known for its pomp and splendor. It features a magnificent procession of caparisoned elephants, rhythmic beats of percussion instruments, and dazzling fireworks. The festival is held at various temples, with Thrissur Pooram being the most famous.

It brings together devotees and spectators in large numbers to witness the captivating spectacle. The event showcases the rich cultural heritage of Kerala through traditional music, dance performances, and the majestic presence of decorated elephants, creating an atmosphere of excitement and reverence.

Malayalam holidays

#5 Attukal Pongala (ആറ്റുകാൽ പൊങ്കാല)

This is a unique festival celebrated in Kerala, particularly at the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram. It involves the ritualistic offering of Pongal (പൊങ്കൽ), a sweet dish, to the presiding deity. Thousands of women participate in this festival, gathering in large numbers to cook the offering in earthen pots over open fires. The festival symbolizes fertility, prosperity, and the devotion of women. Attukal Pongala holds a special place in the hearts of the devotees, creating a joyous and festive atmosphere.

#6 Makaravilakku (മകരവിളക്ക്)

It is a renowned festival celebrated in Kerala, specifically at the Sabarimala Temple. It is held during the auspicious occasion of Makara Samkranthi (മകര സംക്രാന്തി). The highlight of the festival is the divine sighting of Makara Jyothi, a celestial light that appears atop Ponnambalamedu Hill. Devotees gather to witness this sacred event and offer prayers. Makaravilakku marks the culmination of the annual pilgrimage to Sabarimala, and it is a time of spiritual significance and devotion.

Malayalam holidays

#7 Kaarthigai Deepam (കാർത്തിഗൈ ദീപം)

Kaarthigai Deepam, also known as the Festival of Lights, is popularly known as Deepavali/ Diwali in other parts of India. It is observed during the month of Kaarthigai (mid-October to mid-November) and involves the lighting of numerous oil lamps to symbolize the triumph of light over darkness. Devotees offer prayers to Lord Murugan and participate in religious rituals. The festival creates a mesmerizing ambiance as homes, temples, and streets are illuminated with beautiful lights, spreading joy and spirituality among the people.

#8 Christmas (ക്രിസ്മസ്)

Christmas holds a unique charm in Kerala, a state known for its diverse cultural tapestry and a sizable Christian population. The celebrations blend local customs with global traditions, resulting in a distinct flavor. Churches are beautifully adorned, and the faithful gather for midnight Mass. The state sparkles with lights, Christmas carols echo through the streets, and traditional Kerala dishes like appam (അപ്പം) and stew grace the feasts. Kerala’s Christians, spread across different denominations, come together, sharing the joy of Christmas with a touch of their rich cultural heritage, making it a truly memorable and inclusive celebration.

Malayalam holidays

Learn Malayalam With Ling

How did you like this tiny glimpse into the Malayali culture? You can discover much more about Malayalis and the Malayalam language on the Ling platform. We have an array of well-curated articles on trending topics and listicles on language learning on our blog. And to take your language learning experience a step further, we have our very own gamified app – the Ling app.

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