Kerala – A widespread cultural heritage.
A land of cultural diversity, Kerala is the southernmost state of India. The name Keralam originates from the words “Kera meaning Coconut” and “Alam meaning Land or location”, thus know as ‘The Land Of Coconut Trees’. The state was earlier a part of Thamizhagam (presently, Tamil Nadu) and is known for its rich cultural diversity from music, literature, dance and arts.
Kerala is a blend of Aryans and Dravidians and the people staying here are rightly called as Keralites. Malayalam forms as the main regional language of the state. Kerala offers a concoction of performing arts, music, dance and other cultural and heritage forms as a part of its ethnic culture and traditions.
The Literature of Kerala marks a separate identity with poets like Rama Panikkar, Sankar Panikkar, Kumara Asan, Ullon that are renowned Malayalam Poets that have diversified into both poetry and lyrics simultaneously. The Malayalam Literature is rightly enriched by the classical writings of writers like Arundhati Roy, S.K.Pottakkat and Sankara Kurp among others.
Kerala music comprises of the Margi and Desi styles. Margi and Desi styles. Both of the music forms are largely based on classic traditional set of principles. Sopana Sangeetham is a traditional Keralite genre that forms a part of the traditional kathakali music.
Kerala music is significantly dominated by Carnatic Music. Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma popularized the music culture here in 19th century. Panchavadyam and Tayambaka are two forms of percussion instruments that is widely used by a group of artist performing for long hours as an entertainment boost in the state. Kerala has a rich tradition of vocal and percussion music
Kathakali and Mohiniyattam are the two famous traditional dance forms that have originated from Kerala. Kathakali is known worldwide and is usually perfomed by male dancers. The dance costume incorporates a headgear, plentiful ornaments, billowing skirts and face paints. A Typical Kathakali performance incorporates representation of the epics Ramayana or Mahabharata with the use of Chenda (Drumming instrument) along with singers that narrate the story in the form of song and rhythmic movements, incorporating hand, legs and eye co-ordination.
Mohiniyattam is considered as a sensual classical dance form performed by women. The dance form incorporates graceful hand and leg movements. The dance also includes elements of other traditional dance forms like Bharatnatyam and Kathakali.
Other traditional dance forms of Kerala are Thirvathirkali, Kolkalli, Theyyam and Koodiyattam.
Kerala has a large number of festivals celebrated throughout the year, Onam being one of the most important age old tradition and ritual of the state that is practiced all over the country. The celebration commemorates the visit of ‘Mahabali’. Songs like Pulikkali and Thiruvathirakali among others are a few songs associated with the Onam Festival. Vishu and Vishukkai Neettam is another largely celebrated ritual in April.
Another famous temple festival named Thrissur Pooram is known for its large assembly of decorated elephants. Local Music like Panchavadhyam and Thayampaka are played to add to the glory of this fun festival. Pongal is another widely celebrated festival along with Deepavali (Diwali)
Marriages in Kerala:
Marriages in Kerala are a playful affair. The decor and ambiance is colorful yet poise. Food is served on Banana leaf. Kettukalyanam is one of the many rituals that have been practiced since a long time by Hindus here.
Even though Kerala is said to be small strip of land in terms of geographic area and location, one visiting it is embraced with a wide array of cultural heritage in various parts of the state. Cuisine, dance forms and art vary from locations to locations in Kerala.