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Culture of Kerala

The culture of Kerala originates in the region of Thamizhagom (now known as Tamil Nadu), a land that encompassed the Chera, the Chola, and the Pandya kingdoms. The regions rich tradition highly influenced music, dance, language and literature of Kerala. Later over time, the culture of Kerala assimilated the influence of other ethnicities of the world as it built trade relations overseas distinctively with the Middle East and a few European countries. The influence of its foreign inhabitants ranging from Dravidian races and Hindus to Muslims and Jews led to the emergence of the rich and vibrant culture of Kerala which continues to intrigue people all over the world. The songs and dances of the people, their ballads, festivals, cuisines, lifestyle, rituals and intellectual pursuits uniquely identify and define the culture of Kerala today.


Colorful festivals including various temple festivals celebrated in Kerala are an integral part of the culture. There are a large number of temples and each one has a festival associated with it which is generally organized annually during a particular month of the year. These festivals are usually marked by a large procession of elephants and a mass gathering of devotees from all around the state. The elephants form an important part of the day to day life in Kerala. Indian elephants have a prestigious place in Kerala's culture so much so that its image is embedded on the emblem of the Government of Kerala.


A celebration without a lavish spread is incomplete. Cuisine is an important aspect of the tradition. The hot and spicy food is attributed to the extensive use of various spices such as chilies, curry leaves and tamarind in the preparation of most of the dishes. Rice and fish are the staple food of Kerala with coconut being used in almost every dish. To mellow down the spicy flavor, the saccharine levels are raised with a variety of desserts, Appam and Puttu being the most sorts after.


Kerala is invincible as far as the music and dance forms are considered. Bharat Natyam, Kathakali and Mohiniyattam are some of the important classical art forms known for their special and unique movements. Kalarippayattu is the martial art form which was initiated by the ancient rulers of Kerala. Fighting with weapons and doing acrobatic acts are the elements of this martial art. Kalampattu, Kaliyoottu, Kanniyarkali, Kavadiyattam, Kolkali, Thiruvathirakali, Kolkkali, Thullal, Duffmuttu and Kootiyattom known for their vibrant styles, are among the famous folk arts of Kerala. Tribal art forms also form an important part of the culture of Kerala. Kerala's folk music is known for its symphony and rhythm. Sarpapattu, Bhadrakalipattu, Ayyappanpattu are among the famous folk music of Kerala while Thayampaka, Panchavadyam and Kelikottu are some of the instrumental performances.


As is evident, Kerala has a rich cultural heritage and rightly so many poets and writers have sung an ode describing the magnificence of the vivid culture of Kerala. The people here enjoy a cosmopolitan. In brief, Kerala's culture represents the success and development of its people in all facets of life which is the outcome of cultural synthesis and social assimilation.



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