SCFISociety for the Confluence of Festivals in India

Holi in Kerala

Holi is not celebrated in most Southern part, with the zeal same as can be seen in the Northern part of the country. It is not as admired in states which fall under the southern belt, as by the people of the Northern states. Nevertheless there are a handful of communities which celebrate this festival of colour following distinct names and traditions. Kerala, which lies in the Southern part of the country, witnesses Holi not that extravagantly yet one can find people from some communities who enjoy this colourful festival of Holi. In Kerala Holi is known with the name, Manjal Kuli and it is celebrated in Gosripuram Thiruma’s Konkani Temple.

The celebration unlike in most parts of the country is confined to the youngsters and in the places which fall under cities. Some of the traditional communities of Kerala which enjoy this vibrant festival of colours are Gaud Sarawat Brahmins (GSB) and Konkani communities. And these communities call it manjal Kuli or Ukuli. The festivity begins in Kerala in the March on the full moon day at various temples. The Kudumbi community celebrates the festival in a span of four days at around 20 temples. The Kudumbi community is the actual in habitants of Goa, who, upong being persecuted by the Portuguese, fled from Goa to kerala, and with them they brought this festival of colours to the state. The ruler of Cochin welcomed overwhelmingly the Kudumbi community and the life style that they followed.

While in some of the temples of Kudumbi, an arecanut tree is cut and is transported to the shrine, which indicates the victory of Goddess Durga over the demons while in some other temples a crocodile is created using mud, which is believed to symbolise the Goddess who helped the community while the community migrating to Kerala from Goa. On the succeeding day of the celebration, the entire Kudumbi community, play with colours by hurling at each other water mixed with turmeric and dance and sing.

Besides, some of these communities which observe this festival of colours in Kerala, there are people from some Northern state of the country who celebrate the festival with utmost fervour and enthusiasm. However, the actual inhabitants of the state do not celebrate Holi as is celebrated in most of the Northern part of the country.

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