Onam is one of the most widely celebrated festivals of Kerala, and it commemorates the legendary rule of King Mahabali, during which time the people were so happy that it aroused the jealousy of the gods.
To mark the Onam festivities, the Tourism Week is celebrated in the State especially in Thiruvananthapuram during which the streets in the city are illuminated and a unique package of traditional and cultural programmes are staged at the Kanakakkunnu Palace and other landmark points. It culminates in a colourful carnival, which the vast majority of the populace turn out to watch.
The vetta and arattu processions are held twice a year from the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple to Shankhumugham Beach, led by the members of the royal family of erstwhile Travancore. The idols from the temple are subjected to a ritual purification in the sea. Cultural performances, including Kathakali, are staged during the occasion.
The ten day Pongala festival held at Attukal Bhagavathy Temple, 2 km from Thiruvananthapuram, attracts thousands of female devotees from many parts of the country. Men are not allowed in the vicinity of the temple during the Pongala. Pongala is a kind of sweet porridge, considered to be the goddess' favourite offering. It is cooked by each devotee in a clay pot on an open fire and the long line of women making the ritual offering extends up to East Fort and beyond.
This colourful Islamic festival is celebrated to commemorate Bee Umma, a saintly lady, whose tomb is in Beemapally near Thiruvananthapuram. Devotees bring money in pots decorated with flowers, incense sticks and sandalwood paste, as an offering during the festival.
Nishagandhi Dance and Music Festival
This festival of Indian classical dances and music is held at the Nishagandhi open air theatre, Kanakakkunnu Palace grounds, Thiruvananthapuram. Bharathanatyam Kathak Kathakali Kuchipudi Manipuri Mohiniyattom Odissi Specially choreographed ballet combining one or more of these classical dance forms Classical music (instrumental and vocal) Jugalbandi (concertos) are performed in the evenings.
Feast of Christ at Madre Deus Church, Vettukadu
Highlights: Special devotional rites Eucharistic procession (Third week of November)
Flower Show at Kanakakkunnu Palace grounds
Highlights: Floral decorations Cultural shows
Swathi Sangeethotsavam at Kuthiramalika Palace
Annual classical music festival organised in honour of king - Swathi Thirunal.
Highlight: An august gathering of eminent musicians from across India
Utsavam at Paripally Kodimootil Sree Bhadrakali Temple
Elephants offered as ritual offering. Highlights: Cultural programmes Gajamela (elephant pageant)
Utsavam at Sreekandeswaram Temple
Highlights: Kodiyettam Ezhunallathu Pallivetta Kathakali Ottanthullal
Utsavam at Janardhana Swamy Temple, Varkala
Highlights: Rituals Pallivetta Arattu procession, Kathakali