Culture of Kerala

God's Own Country.

Performing Arts

Native traditions of classical performing arts include koodiyattom, a form of Sanskrit drama or theatre and a UNESCO-designated Human Heritage Art.

Katakhali and kali is a 500-year-old form of dance-drama that interprets ancient epics. Meanwhile, koothu is a more light-hearted performance mode, akin to modern stand-up comedy; an ancient art originally confined to temple sanctuaries, it was later popularized by Mani Madhava Chakyar.

Other Keralite performing arts include mohiniyaattam ("dance of the enchantress"), which is a type of graceful choreographed dance performed by women and accompanied by musical vocalizations. Thullal, padayani, and theyyam are other important Keralite arts.

Kerala also has several tribal and folk art forms. For example, Kummattikali is the famous colorful mask-dance of South Malabar, performed during the festival of Onam. The Kannyar Kali dances (also known as Desathukali) are fast moving, militant dances attuned to rhythmic devotional folk songs and asuravadyas. Also important are various performance genres that are Islam- or Christianity-themed. These include oppana, which is widely popular among Keralite Muslims and is native to Malabar. Oppana incorporates group dance accompanied by the beat of rhythmic hand clapping and ishal vocalizations.

Margam Kali is one of the ancient round group dance of Kerala practiced by Saint Thomas Christians.

Music

The ragas and talas of lyrical and devotional carnatic music — another native product of South India — dominates Keralite classical musical genres. Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma, a 19th-century king of Travancore and patron and composer of music, was instrumental in popularising carnatic music in early Kerala.[10][11] Additionally, Kerala has its own native music system, sopanam, which is a lugubrious and step-by-step rendition of raga-based songs. It is sopanam, for example, that provides the background music used in kathakali. The wider traditional music of Kerala also includes melam (including the paandi and panchari variants), as style of percussive music performed at temple-centered festivals using an instrument known as the chenda. Up to 150 musicians may comprise the ensembles staging a given performance; each performance, in turn, may last up to four hours. Panchavadyam is a differing type of percussion ensemble consisting of five types of percussion instruments; these can be utilised by up to one hundred artists in certain major festivals. In addition to these, percussive music is also associated with various uniquely Keralite folk arts forms. Lastly, the popular music of Kerala — as in the rest of India — is dominated by the filmi music of Indian cinema. The most remembered name in kerala music culture is of Great Indian musician Sri K. J. Yesudas.

Martial and Sports

Kerala also has its own indigenous form of martial artKalarippayattu, derived from the words kalari ("place", "threshing floor", or "battlefield") and payattu ("exercise" or "practice"). Influenced by both Kerala’s Brahminical past and Ayurvedic medicine, kalaripayattu is attributed by oral tradition to Parasurama. After some two centuries of suppression by British colonial authorities, it is now experiencing strong comeback among Keralites while also steadily gaining worldwide attention. Other popular ritual arts include theyyam and poorakkali — these originate from northern Malabar, which is the northernmost part of Kerala. Nevertheless, these have in modern times been largely supplanted by more popular sports such as cricket, kabaddi, soccer, badminton, and others. 'Kochi Tuskers Kerala' playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) is from Kerala. Kerala is home of the football clubs Viva Kerala and FC Kochin.

Folklore

The folklore of Kerala includes elements from the traditional lifestyle of the people of Kerala. The traditional beliefs, customs,rituals etc are reflected in the folkart and songs of Kerala.

Elephants Culture in Kerala

The elephants are an integral part of the daily life in Kerala. These Indian elephants are given a prestigious place in the state's culture. Elephants in Kerala are often referred to as the 'sons of the sahya'. The elephant is the state animal of Kerala and is featured on the emblem of the Government of Kerala.

Sarpa Kavu (Sacred Grove of the Serpent)

Sarpa Kavu (meaning Sacred Grove of the Serpent) is a typically small traditional grove of trees seen in the Kerala state of South India. These pristine groves usually have representations of several Naga Devatas (serpent gods), which were worshipped by the joint families or taravads. This was part of Nagaradhana (snake worship) which was prevalent among keralites during past centuries. It had been practised by Ezhavas, Nairs, Arayas and many other tribal, non-tribal and costal communities all over the Malabar Coast in south India.

Temple Festivals

Kerala has a large number of temples. The temples celebrate annual festivals which are not only unique to the region but sometimes have features that are unique to each temple. Each temple describes each interesting history behind its creation.

Thrissur Pooram Chenda Melam