If you are willing to enjoy your vacation in a merry making style, Cochin Carnival is the right time to visit Kerala. Celebrations starts on 25th of December and on the New Year’s Day…. Kerala all set for tourism.
How It All Started
During the colonial years, Portuguese took their New Year celebrations to the state and it eventually turned into the Cochin Carnival. Portuguese ruled the region during 16th and 17th century and Fort Kochi was their capital. Thus, it became the main ground for their celebrations. The European style of merry making, partying and celebration is continued until date. Based on the themes ‘Participation’, ‘Development’, ‘Peace’, ‘Adventure’ and ‘Environment’, the Carnival was conceived in the International Year of the Youth.
At the strike of mid-night on New Year’s Eve, an effigy of an old man is burnt. It resembles the end of the old year and birth of New Year. The carnival took its way into the culture, 33 years ago. In 1984, the first old man effigy was burnt in the beach. It is not something new to the world or even to India. It is tradition among people to burnt effigies of figures who are evil. In India, during Dusshera, effigy of Raavan is burnt. The carnival begins by appreciating the Portuguese culture, by hoisting a flag on the Vasco Da Gama square.
Cochin Carnival is a cultural reflection of the hybrid past of Fort Kochi. It has its origins rooted deep in the Portuguese and British rule. The Portuguese New Year celebrations during the colonial era gradually paved the way for the Cochin Carnival. Fort Kochi’s biggest gala the Cochin Carnival organised by the District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC), Ernakulam is celebrated every year in the last two weeks of December. Impressive events like fairs, cultural shows, food festivals, bike and cycle races, rallies, beach football, arts and games and so forth enhance the festive spirit.
A procession enriched with caparisoned elephants, folk performances, vibrant costumes, music and percussions taken out on New Year’s Day is a fantastic kick off to the New Year. It is a combination of Christmas and New Year celebration. The carnival starts with the hoisting of Carnival Flag, on the Vasco Da Gama Square. The aim of the celebration is to decorate and celebrate Kerala as a bride. You can find decorations everywhere in the country.
Besides all these eye catching programmes, Pappanji makes the event all the more splendid and spellbinding. This statue of the old man is burnt at zero hour on the 31st of December. A grand party with music and dance follows this and continues till dawn.
With immense zest and zeal thousands flock to Fort Kochi on New Year’s Eve to welcome the New Year by burning the massive statue of an old man named, Pappanji. Burning of this 35-feet huge Pappanji that stands tall amidst the crowd, just like a skyscraper symbolises the welcoming of hope and harmony. Celebrate the rebirth of life and leave with the rhythm of Fort Kochi ringing in your hearts this New Year!