Wednesday, July 6, 2011

PROUD HERITAGE

Kerala is comparatively a small state in India but it has unique characteristics in many aspects.Kerala has
earned fame as 'The God's own Country' because of many reasons.The climate is moderate with ample
rainfall throughout the year.Even though small in size forty four rivers flow through this state making this land
fertile.There are fresh water lakes and back waters also.The land scape of hills and valleys, dense forests and fertile plains with green lush vegetation creates
  immense  beauty  that attracts tourists to Kerala.There is a  long stretch of coastal line
from one end to the other end which have beautiful beaches also that makes this state marvelous for the visitors.
Hindus,Christians and Muslims live in harmony here.Kerala state has the large number of Christians in India
than in other states.It is believed that St.Thomas visited Kerala and converted many Hindus to Christianity.
So, in that regard,  many of the Christian families of Kerala have their origin from the starting of that religion itself.The oldest
Church in India is in Kerala and the largest Church in India is also in Kerala.Like that Islam religion also spread in Kerala widely.The people of Kerala gives prior importance to education.Kerala used to be always on the top in literacy rate in India.Women also study well and achieve good positions like men.The people of Kerala
have earned reputation as hard working and reliable.They are employed in all parts of India and abroad.The Kerala people has the ability to mingle with the society they live in.
The people of Kerala leads a simple way of life and wear simple dress also.Men wear Dhoti and shirt and
women wear Saree with blouse or Churidar.Rice is mostly used but wheat is also used by many families for
one time meal.Vegetables and fish are more consumed than meat.Most of the Hindus do not use Beef and
Pork.For Hindu ceremonies like marriage and birth day  celebrations only vegetarian feasts are prepared.On these
occasions and for religious festivals like Onam. Vishu etc also Vegetarian feast with several dishes and
sweets known as  'Sadya' is made.'Ada Pradhaman' is a main sweet item of Sadya. It is 'ambrosia'(Payasam)
made from rice and jaggery.(Jaggery is made by boiling sugarcane juice)
'Sadya'
Raw rice  made to a fine paste is spread on small plantain leaves, rolled, tied and put in boiling water.After some time they are taken out and put in cold water.The rice flakes are removed from the leaf, cut in to small pieces and again put in to a large brass vessel which is  known as 'Uruli'.Coconut milk mixed with water and jaggery is also added.After boiling for some time ghee is added with dry grape fruits and fried cashew nuts.Then pure coconut milk is added mixed well and removed from the flame.The product is 'ada pradhaman' which is an essential part of all sadya in Kerala.Other sweet items like 'Semiya payasam'
'Kadala payasam' 'Boli' etc are also prepared for sadya.The sadya will be served on plantain leaves.
Kerala People enjoys to celebrate all festivals. Festivals like Onam.Christmas,Bakrid,Vishu etc are celebrated by all people together.Hindus have the large number of festivals.The common Hindu festivals celebrated in India such as Sivarathri,Janmashtami,Navarathri,Deepavali etc are celebrated here also and apart from that
in Kerala; Onam,Vishu,Meena Bharani,Karkidaka Vavu,Thaipooyam etc are also celebrated in addition.
There are one or two temples in all villages in Kerala.The annual temple festival for ten days consecutively
is a custom.On all days of the festival period different varieties of programs such as dance,drama,Kathakali
etc are staged in these temples.Most of the art forms of Kerala were originated to perform in temples.Some of the art forms date back to several centuries.The art form 'Koodiyattam' is more than 2000 years old.
The ritualistic art forms 'Padayani' and 'Theyyam' is older than Koodiyattam.Padayani and Theyyam are
Dravidian cults and there is no influence of Aryans on them.
Some myths and beliefs of certain celebrations may seem ridiculous but fun loving Kerala people are least
bothered about that.They are proud about their heritage and culture and give full support to celebrate all festivals splendidly gorgeous.The younger generation are also in the fore front to  celebrate ancient ritualistic
festivals like Padayani and Theyyam with full enthusiasm.

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