Kochi has assimilated so many cultures that it now happily celebrates the religious and cultural festivals of Muslims, Jews and the different streams of Hinduism and Christianity. Not to mention several Kerala-specific festivals like Onam and the Kochi Carnival – both of which are 10-day extravaganzas where locals and tourists alike will have one heck of a good time with feasts, fireworks and games. All said and done, Kochiites are ready and eager to skip school and work to celebrate the festivals that keep popping up every other week.
The Onam Festival (Aug-Sept) has its mythological roots in Kochi, and it is Kerala’s biggest festival. It shuts down the State machinery for the better part of a week, and it’s not just a Hindu religious festival. Everybody in Kerala celebrates it, and that makes it huge. The incredible Sadya (Onam feast) includes some 24 to 28 dishes served as part of a single meal in one course – on a large banana leaf. It’s also the biggest shopping bonanza of the year – huge crowds throng to the shops and markets at MG Road and the rest of Kochi. Throw in parades, snake boat races and other games and events, and it’s fair to say that Kochi during Onam is very different from the way it is during the rest of the year.
This same holiday vibe picks up again for Diwali in October and then Christmas and the Kochi Carnival during the last ten days of the year. Again, these are holiday shopping bonanza periods, so crowds of shoppers will steamroll over you on the streets if you give them half a chance. It’s an awesome sight and you’ll enjoy the city a whole lot more if you drop in during one of these holiday periods.
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