In the south of India lies lush green fertile land that is traversed by attractive landscapes, rivers, lakes, sun kissed beaches, waterfalls, breathtaking backwaters, wildlife sanctuaries, parks etc. called the state of Kerala. No wonder it is more popularly referred as God’s own land. Kerala is rated among the best tourist destinations across the globe.
Travelers will love the experience of Kerala culture and tradition. Though small in size, the state has so much to explore that you will want to come back again and again. The place has a wonderful tradition that has plenty of ethnic values and cultures. Lot of importance is given to art, language, philosophy, education which has a comprehensive trait of the distinct Malayali features.
Culture of Kerala- a blend of traditional and contemporary lifestyle:
The roots of Kerala culture and history go back to the Neolithic era. Several stone age carvings and pictorial writings, that date back to 5000 BC, have been discovered in the Edakkal caves that you can come across on your way to Wayanad. It is believed to have started with the Negritos who were said to be very proficient with the phenomenon of nature. They introduced the cultivation of rice and vegetables. They had a good knowledge of Ayurvedic medicines.
The locals there are called as Keralites and their mother tongue is Malayalam. They are very protective towards their religion and culture and perform the traditional rituals and practices very meticulously. The culture and tradition of Kerala are deeply tangled with its history. You can find people from all religions mixing freely and they celebrate all the major festivals with great enthusiasm and pomp irrespective of their caste or creed.
Traditional dress code:
Enjoy cultural tourism in Kerala. Dress up in the local traditional style. The people there follow a very ethnic dress code without much show off. Women dress up in the traditional “settu mundu” (draping of a two-piece attire in the same way as a sari without the pleats) worn over a blouse. Men are mostly seen in a “white mundu” worn under a kurta or a shirt with a towel over their shoulders. The city lifestyle is different and people are more often seen in the modern day attire.
One of the best parts of this tiny state is its way of celebrating festivals. People from all communities join and greet one another. Some of the prominent festivals include:
- Onam: You can witness and experience the culture of Kerala during Onam, the most popular festival in the state. It is also known as the harvest festival of Kerala. The festival is celebrated for ten days. The first day is called as Atham and the final day as Thiruvonam. Special pujas are offered each day. Hindus wear new clothes, distribute sweets, visit temples etc. Boat races, elephant parades, music, carnivals form part of the festivities.
- Vishu: The day is celebrated as the Kerala new year day. Celebrations start with ceremonial splendor with people offering prayers, preparations of special varieties of dishes and sweets, crackers are burnt, new clothes are worn and the poor are given food and coins as alms.
Eid and Christmas are celebrated with equal fervor. Diwali that is widely celebrated in India and abroad is not among the popular festivals of Kerala.
Dance and music:
The art and culture of Kerala is a blend of Aryan and Dravidians. Aryans are the descendants from the northern India while the Dravidian culture came from South India. The art forms are classified into four groups of Classical arts, Fine arts, Folk arts and Temple music form. Kathakali is a dance drama of Kerala while Mohiniyattam is the dance form of Kerala.
Music too goes back to the ancient era. Carnatic music dominates in the state. Panchavadyam and Thayambaka are two popular percussion instruments that are popularly played.
The Kerala cultural arts cannot be completed without mentioning Ayurveda and natural therapy. Ayurveda is the oldest form of healthcare and offers a combination of medicine and philosophy. It is a wide-ranging naturalistic system that depends on the analysis of human body’s reactions to the three basic types of energy known as Vata Pitta and Kapha the three doshas.
Kerala cuisine is a multitude of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Coconuts are used widely in almost all dishes. Kerala has an excellent agricultural system and is well-known for its rubber, tea, coffee, plantations. Fresh sea fish is widely exported to neighboring states and countries. Cardamom and pepper are the major spices that are exported from here.