Kochi Culture



Kochi has a multi-cultural identity, as people from various parts of the world have made this city of Kerala their home. Therefore, Kochi culture has many facets, which have completely different identities. Staring from the Kochi Carnival with a western flavor to the Vishu of a contrasting ethnic character, the festivals reflect this diversity of culture in Kochi. Other important facets of the culture of Kochi include its literature and other art forms, cuisine and various shopping items, which are in demand in the city.

The Malayalam literature is one of the most important segments of the culture at Kochi. In the later part of the 19th century, many genres of Malayalam literature have flourished including essays on a variety of subjects, poems, translation works, journals, novels and dramas.

Kathakali is one of the most popular art forms in Kochi. The dance drama of Kathakali is performed mainly with the help of hand expressions. These are assisted by facial expressions including the expressions of the eyes. There are a number of festivals which form an important part of Kochi culture. Some of them are the Kochi Carnival, the Onam and the Vishu. The Onam is held in September or October, the Vishu is celebrated in April or March and the Kochi Carnival is held in December.

A variety of cuisines is available at Kochi. The specialty of the Kochi Cuisine is the seafood delicacies including the popular dish called the Fish Curry of Kerala. There are quite a few good shopping items at Kochi including metal ware, carvings on the bones of camels and carvings on wood.

Kochi Carnival

The Kochi Fort that was previously erected in Kochi by the Portuguese serves to be the nerve center of all the invigorating commotion and non-stop merriment that accompanies the Cochin Carnival. The Keralites domiciling across the entire city of Kochi just cast away all their worries and vexations and get drenched in the unadulterated spirit of the Cochin Carnival.

The commencement of the Cochin Carnival in India roots back to the period when colonialism ruled supreme in Kochi. It has been conjectured that the Portuguese rulers greeted the New Year in a truly grand fashion. Absolutely dazzling ceremonial elegance and unparalleled splendor marked the parties and fiestas that were conducted by them so that they could celebrate to their heart's content. Although times have drastically changed, but this age-old tradition and unique style of celebration has lived on through aeons and eventually got aggravated in the year 1984, when it was bequeathed with the title of Cochin Carnival of India.

This fervid fete regarded as Cochin Carnival is characterized by five principles namely peace, progress, environment, participation and adventure. The Kochi Fort is adorned in such a delectable way that the on-lookers get spellbound instantaneously. Large flocks of enthusiastic native folks conglomerate here, clad in exotic colored attires to add that special touch to this magnanimous event. Events like Sea-Swimming, Beach Volleyball, Beach Football and Beach Bike Race make the Cochin carnival more interesting and amusing. Even prizes are awarded to the competition winners. On the New Year's Day elephants are brought out on the roads and the tunes of the instrument known as 'Panchavadyam' reverberates throughout the city.

This carnival of Kochi is feted during the ultimate week of the month of December.

Kochi Cuisine

Kochi cuisine possesses some truly salivating delicacies in its bag, majority of which are very mildly flavored and very scrumptious. Most of the dishes categorized under Kochi cuisine are quite light and do not pose any health related problems. The culinary delicacies of Kochi offer a great diversity in vegetarian dishes also. This is quite evident from the fact that during the time of the jovial festivals like 'Onam', the season lunch contains many mouth-watering varieties of vegetarian delights.

Some of the most revered and acclaimed vegetarian delicacies include 'Thoran', 'Paachadi', 'Kaalan' and more.

The bananas form an integral wing of the cuisine of Kochi. The main reason behind this is the fact that bananas are grown in sumptuous quantities there. Thus, this amazingly tasty fruit has made its way into a good number of the dishes. One of the very famous dishes in Kochi is crispy bananas made from frying finely sliced bananas. Kaalan is another culinary delight prepared from the bananas. In this, the bananas are blended with yogurt. Bananas are also plunged into a thick sauce of melted sugar to make some of the tastiest sweet delights.

Bananas in the grated and mashed form, blended uniformly with the plumpy dough prepared from rice flour are utilized in the manufacture of 'Pootu' which is a popular choice of breakfast. Coconut is also generously utilized in many of the exotic dishes of Kochi.

Some of the most renowned dishes from Kochi ate mentioned enlisted below:-
  • 'Meen Vevichathu' is a highly famed dish that contains fish cooked in a tangy sauce.
  • Appams
  • Vellayappams
  • Kallappams
Shopping

Shopping in Kochi can truly prove to be an immensely delectable and unforgettable experience as there is en entire caboodle of purchasable articles available there at a very affordable rate. If you are scheduled to jaunt to this city positioned in the south-western frontier of India, make a point that you devote a good fraction of your time to shopping in Kochi.

Some of the most acclaimed famed purchasable items that are elegantly displayed in the most of the shopping areas in Kochi are mentioned below:-

  • Grass Mats
  • Various article manufactured from extremely durable coconut shells
  • Intricately designed Camel-Bone Carvings
  • Bamboo Canes
  • Ready made Garments available in vibrant colors and mind-boggling combinations.
  • Metal wares
  • Mats that are made from Screw pine
  • Many different types of handicrafts
  • Jewelry
  • Textiles that contain a distinct touch of ethnicity and are mostly woven with the aid of hands

    Some of the most famous outlets in the shopping areas of Kochi are listed below:-

  • A-One Paper Mart Jew Street, Kochi-682035
  • Alpha Traders Agents and Distributors, 7/467 Maralladavu, Kochi-682002
  • Friends Stationery Mart Jews St Disco Bzr, Kochi-682035
  • Cochin Book Centre Broadway, Kochi-682031
  • Bril Depot 42/1364 St Benedicts Cross Rd ERK, Kochi-682018
  • Giji Stationery Mart Bdway Lane, Kochi-682031
  • Davis Stores Broadway, Kochi-682031
  • Classic Traders 40/3539 Jew St, Kochi-682035 Shopping areas at Kochi includes the MG Road, Marine Drive, Broadway, Khadi Gramaudyog Bhavan, Eranakulam Market and many more. All in all, it is an absolute treat to invest sumptuous proportions of time in shopping in Kochi.

    Kathakali

    Kathakali in Kochi is one of the most popular dance forms not only of the state of Kerala, but of the whole subcontinent of India. In fact, Kathakali of Kochi has earned a lot of fame as one of the most ancient forms of dance in the world that are still in practice.

    This genre of dance is termed dance drama. Kathakali involves the presentation of a drama through the expression of dance. The performances of Kathakali in Kochi are accompanied by instrumental as well as vocal aids. The basic expressions of this dance form are delivered by the hands. The expressions suggested by the subtle hand movements are complimented by the movements of the face, particularly, the eyes.

    The Kochi Kathakali is a part of the Kathakali practiced throughout the state of Kerala. This form of dance drama chooses its subjects from the treasure house of traditional myths and legends associated with the Indian culture.

    The cultural lineage of this form of art can be traced back to the 8th century. The Kathakali has originated from the dance drama called Ramanattam, which won over a lot of fame in those days. This performance was the brain child of Kottarakkara Thampuran. The contribution of this person in the field of age-old art forms makes him a renowned personality of Kerala.

    The Kathakali at Kochi is a significant part of the socio-cultural sector of the entire state of Kerala. It has a traditional heritage in the state and is still learnt and developed by the dancers of the young generations of Kochi.

    Malayalam Literature

    Malayalam literature and Kochi is very closely associated with each other. The Malayalam literature of Kochi is an integral part of the culture of the city of Kochi. Actually, Malayalam literature is the traditional school of literature in the state of Kerala. Malayalam literature is also the literature of Kochi, as Kochi is a city within Kerala. Therefore, all the important aspects about Malayalam literature form a significant part of the literary history of the city of Kochi.

    Cherusseri Namboodiri is the person who gave a new turn to the Malayalam literature. He initiated pure Malayalam literature in the text Krishna Gatha in the initial part of the 15th century. This was followed by a mixed form of Malayalam literature, which was an amalgamation of verse and prose with the usage of Sanskrit words here and there.

    The Ramacharitam is supposed to be the most ancient written document in Malayalam. Hence, his contribution is a significant part of the basic information about Malayalam literature and Kochi. The Ramacharitam is as old as 1300AD.

    Towards the beginning, the Malayalam literature followed the Mani-pravalam style. The Mani-pravalam style was continued by the writers of Malayalam literature until the time of Cherusseri Namboodiri.

    The post 18th century Malayalam literature is generally termed the modern phase of the Malayalam literature. In the 18th century, a new type of literature became popular, which is a form of dance drama called the Tullal. The later part of the 19th century saw many translation works, along with dramas, essays on a variety of subjects, novels, journals and poems.

    The Malayalam literature at Kochi has its linguistic origin in the family of languages called the Dravidian language family. The Old Tamil literature may be termed the immediate predecessor of the Malayalam literature in Kochi.

    Onam

    Onam is one of the most important festivals in the Kochi city in the state of Kerala. The Onam of Kochi can be termed a festival associated with the harvest season in the city. According to the Malayalam calendar, this festival is held in the month of Chingam. This month corresponds to the early part of the month of September or the later part of the month of August.

    The celebrations associated with Onam may stretch for as many as ten days. It denotes the festive season to the people of the region. The festival of Onam at Kochi is the most popular festival associated with harvest in the entire state of Kerala. People participate in this famous festival of Kochi not only from the remaining part of the state but the entire country of India.

    The women of the city adorn themselves with new garments and ornaments. Various kinds of sports activities and dance performances are held on this occasion. The people decorate their houses with rangolis and flowers.

    Onam stands for the time of happiness after a great deal of hard work. It indicates the time of reaping the crops. This time of merriment for the people of the city coincides with the upheaval of natural beauty. At the end of the rainy season, the nature looks fresh and glowing with overflowing water bodies, blooming flowers, blue sky and dark green forests.

    The festival of Oman in Kochi is well known throughout the state as one of the unifying festivals of Kerala. People belonging to different economic, social and cultural backgrounds take part in this festival.

    Vishu

    Vishu is one of the most important festivals in the industrial city of Kochi in the subcontinent of India. Vishu of Kochi is celebrated with a lot of pomp and grandeur. This festival of Kerala is held on the occasion of the New Year.

    The New Year celebrations include a lot of traditional rituals and customs, which are closely associated with the socio-cultural life of the place. According to popular belief, the rituals followed on the occasion of Vishu are meant to usher in a year of economic stability and general well being for all the people of the city.

    The festival of Vishu in Kochi is held in April or March. The tentative date on which this popular festival of Kochi is organized is the 14th. This date of the English calendar corresponds to the very first day in the month of Medam in the local calendar of Kerala, that is, the Malayalam calendar. The Malayalam calendar starts with the month of Medam.

    The women of Kochi prepare a dish from bell metal and place an ornament made of gold, a manuscript, a few Konna flowers, an unused piece of cloth, a broken coconut, a couple of coins and some other fruits. The people of the region are made to see this dish, called the Kani. This ritual is an integral part of the festival of Vishu at Kochi.

    According to traditional beliefs, the way this important day of the year is spent is reflected in the rest of the year. Therefore, the people of Kochi consider receiving a nice gift or a good view lucky. They believe that such incidents indicate the premonition of a lot of happiness in the year ahead.



    Last Updated on : 30/08/2013













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