The good thing about Kochi and the rest of Kerala is that people are always ready and eager to skip school and work to celebrate the festivals of the different cultures and religions that keep popping up every other week. Need an extra day to celebrate Vishu (Malayali New Year)? No problem – April has Ambedkar Jayanti and Vishu lined up on successive days, preceded by holidays earlier in the month for Mahavir Jayanti and Good Friday. In case you don’t know, Mahavir Jayanti is a Jain (different religion) holiday, Good Friday is a Christian holiday, and then Ambedkar Jayanti is kind of a secular/Buddhist one.
Onam? Ten-day festivalpalooza in Aug-Sept with two days off. Christmas? New Year’s Eve? You have the Kochi Carnival that starts Dec 20 and continues on to Jan 1. That’s the way you roll in Kochi.
As far as visitors are concerned, festival inconveniences are more or less minor (closed banks, post offices, etc.) and can be safely ignored. The festivals you want to keep an eye on include Onam, Diwali (Nov) and Christmas. These are all festivals when people go shopping like there’s no tomorrow. The streets will be flooded with shoppers and it’s a whole lot more fun, what with feasts and gifts and sweets. Not to mention the elephant parades, floats, temple functions and special competitions like snake boat races.
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