India is a land of fairs and festivals and Kerala is no exception to this. Besides the major festivals that are celebrated across India, there are numerous local festivals that are celebrated in Kerala. Most of the festivals of Kerala are connected with local traditions and religions. There are certain festivities like the boat races, which originated to commemorate religious events but subsequently turned out to be events of social importance.

It is one of the important festivals of Kerala. Vishu is celebrated in the month of April. According to the old traditional Malayalam calendar it is the 1st day of the New Year. The main event of the Vishu celebration is the 'Kani- Kanal'. Coconuts, fruits, cereals and Konna flowers are kept in big pots to prepare Kani. Behind this pot, a mirror and a garlanded statue of Krishna are kept. Early morning on the Vishu day, the master of the house sees the Kani and then the rest of the family follows. Children's are brought blind folded to see the Kani. The elders in the family give money to the youngsters and bless them. According to the local beliefs, if we you Kani good luck will stay with you till the year end.

The Navratri celebration is known by different names in different parts of India. It is Durga Puja of Bengal, Dussehra of Bombay and the Saraswati Puja and the Ayudha Puja of the south. The Navratri festival runs over 9 days. The last three days of navratri are most important. The last three days are known as Durga Ashtami, Mahanavami, and Vijaya Dasami. On the night of the Durga Ashtami day, there is the ceremony known as 'Puja Vayppu'. It involves decorating a room superbly, illuminating it with many lights and arranging on a platform, raised in the middle of the room, the things necessary for performing Saraswati Puja. During the last three days of Puja, all sorts of learning and business come to a stand still.

Onam is the most important and popular festival of Kerala. Onam is celebrated with lots of fervor and gaiety. All Malayalis, irrespective of their religion, celebrate Onam. It falls in the Malayalam month of Chingam (Aug-Sept). Onam is the harvest festival of Kerala. According to legends, Onam is celebrated to commemorate the home coming of Mahabali, the king who ruled over Kerala in the age of plenty and was pushed down to the Patala by Lord Vishnu in the form of Vamana.

The image of Thrikkakara Appan (Vishnu in the form of Vamana) is installed in every Hindu home during the Onam celebration. Children go around collecting flowers and decorating them in the front portion of their houses in different designs and patterns. Onam festival is an example of religious harmony and provides for family get-together. Mahasivarathri
Majha Shivarathri is an important festival of Hindus and is celebrated in Kumbam (Feb-March). Mahasivarathri festival commemorates the day on which Lord Shiva consumed the deadly poison (Kalakuda visham) to save the world from destruction. On the Mahashivaratri day, people throng all the prominent Shiva temples to offer their prayers to lord Shiva.

Asthami Rohini
Asthami Rohini, the birthday of Lord Krishna is celebrated with great fervor in the state. It is celebrated in the month of Chingam (Aug- Sept). Devotees visit the Krishna temples to offer Pooja and prayers. Cultural programmes are also held to mark the occasion.

Thrikarthiaka festival is celebrated in the month of Vrischikam (Nov-Dec). Display of light in the evening is an integral and unique part of the festival.

Christmas is an important festival of Kerala. Christians, all over Kerala, celebrate Christmas on 25th Dec. During Christmas, holy Mass is held in all the churches of Kerala. Singing of Christmas Carols, Setting up of Christmas tree, exchanges of cards, gifts etc form an integral part of Christmas festivities in Kerala.

Easter is another important festival of Christians, which commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter is celebrated with fervor and dedication among the Christian community of Kerala. Easter generally falls in March-April. During the Easter celebrations, Christians go for mid-night mass as a memory of the resurrection of Jesus.

Bakrid commemorates the sacrifice of Ibrahim in obedience to God's command. Bakrid is an important festival of Kerala. Muslims enjoy hearty feasts on Bakrid day. Many rich people sacrifice goats and distribute them among friends, relatives and the poor, to mark the occasion.

Idul Fitr
Idul Fitr/Eid is celebrated after the conclusion of the Ramzan fast when Muslims give up all kind of food and drink during the day and spend the major part of the night prayer. Since Kerala has a substantial population of Muslims, Idul Fitr/Eid is an important celebration.

Miladi Sharif
Miladi Sharif, celebrated on a large scale in April, Commemorates the birth of the prophet. This celebration has acquired its present dimensions only in recent times. Previously the day was observed by the Muslims by reading what is commonly known as Maulud which is a short treatise in Arabic celebrating the birth, life, work and sayings of the prophet or some saint.

Muharram is another festival celebrated by Muslims of Kerala on the 10th day of Muharram, the forbidden month, which marks the beginning of the Hijra year. Home Stays in Kerala Homestays provide the travellers- A Home Away from Home, with all the comforts and facilities, for whatever duration it takes, to discover the highs and lows of Kerala, at incredibly low prices. Experience the hospitality of the host family and the unique feeling imparted while staying in a home and interacting with people of a different culture. The cross section represented here are carefully chosen and recognized home stays that will go the extra leg to make your trip a pleasant memorable experience.