Cochin Carnival 2019

Cochin Carnival 2019

Start Date: 25-12-2019.

End Date: 01-01-2020.

Venue: Fort Kochi, Kerala.

Traditional Kathakali dance on New Year carnival in Fort Kochi (Cochin), Kerala, India.

The magnificent port city of Kerala, the “Queen of Arabian Sea” – Kochi always has some surprise for her visitors. Whether it is its Indo-western charm or mesmerizing beauty, vibrant culture or modern lifestyle, magnificent historic edifices or exhilarating festivals and events, there is something that makes Kochi cast its magical spell on every visitor. Home to multi-ethnic culture and beliefs, Kochi celebrates almost all the Indian festivals like Onam, Vishu, Christmas, Ramzan, Holi, Diwali, etc with great grandeur and even hosts a variety of entertainment as well as cultural programs like Kochi Muziris BiennaleIndia International Aqua Show, to name a few. Now we are in the last month of 2019 and this time, Kochi is all set to steal our hearts with the most enthusiastic and energetic New Year event – the Cochin Carnival.

Read on to know more about Cochin Carnival:

Cochin Carnival:

Cochin Carnival is not just a festivity but it’s an emotion for the people of KochiFort Kochi is the place where you should be at to enjoy this vibrant Carnival. The fabulous 10-day celebration that kicks off on the Christmas Day, 25th December 2019 and ends on the New Year’s Eve, 1st January 2020, the Cochin Carnival is regarded as the biggest gala of Fort Kochi and a great time for merrymaking and feasting along with hundreds and thousands of people before stepping into the New Year.

Marked by an array of events and activities, Cochin Carnival is organized by the District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC), Ernakulam and is celebrated every year in the last two weeks of December. 

Traditional dance on New Year carnival in Fort Kochi (Cochin), Kerala, India. Kerala, India.

Fort Kochi is all decked up as a gorgeous bride, decorated in confetti and lit up all night for the biggest celebration of the year and is filled with cheerfulness and joyous enthusiasm all around. The hoisting of the Carnival Flag at the Vasco da Gama Square marks the beginning of the spectacular Cochin Carnival. The theme of this grand fiesta is based on Peace, Adventure, Environment, Participation, and Progress and it spreads the message of peace, prosperity and tranquillity.

A combination of Christmas and New Year celebrations, the incredible Cochin Carnival entertains and excites as well as brings a lot of joy and delight for the people of Kerala. Grand fiestas and parties along with cultural shows, fairs, food festivals, bike and cycle races, rallies, beach football, arts and games are there as well to enhance the festive spirit.

Burning the effigy of Pappanhi

The streets also come alive with dance, music, flashy tableaux and motley processions, making Cochin Carnival an extraordinary event worth experiencing. The most spellbinding custom that grabs the attention of everyone during the Carnival is burning the effigy of Pappanhi, or an old man at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s eve.

History of Cochin Carnival:

The history of Cochin Carnival dates back to the time when the Portuguese ruled the area from 1503 to 1663. At that time, Fort Kochi was their capital and eventually, it became the main ground for New Year celebrations with grand parties and fiestas. Though this tradition died out after the Portuguese left the country, later its celebration was revived for the modern age by three youngsters from Cochin named Ananda Felix ScariaAntony Anup Scaria, and George Augustine Thundiparambil.

Participants of New Year carnival in festival costumes on the streets of Fort Kochi.

In 1984, the trio organized a beach festival to honour the UN’s declaration of the year 1985 as the ‘International Year of the Youth’. The trio even received support from 150 youth groups of various clubs and organizations for conducting the festival. The event started during the second week of December in the year 1984 with a cycle race followed by other local ethnic games like Kabaddi, Tug of War, Kuttiyum Kolum, Kalam Vara (floor drawing), Kalari, etc. The festival was concluded on 1 January 1985 with a grand procession with a massive rally including richly caparisoned elephants accompanied by Panchavadyam (the orchestra of five instruments). This spectacular fiesta was christened as ‘Carnivale Cochin’ that gradually took the form of what is today called the Cochin Carnival. Owing to the Portuguese tradition, the Carnival begins every year by hoisting a flag on the Vasco Da Gama square.

What will you experience?

Cochin Carnival is truly a visual extravaganza of street parades, colourful costumes, decorated elephants, music, dance and much more. It is the happiest moment of the year where people of all ages unite to burst out with enthusiasm and irresistible merrymaking, and it forms an amazing way to bid farewell to the past year. Fort Kochi springs into festive fervor and you can find colourful decorations and fairy lights everywhere. Myriads of people flocks to Fort Kochi with a great deal of joy and enthusiasm to participate in the Cochin Carnival, dressed in brightly colored costumes that makes way for the most splendid and visually delightful sight.

Elephant goes in front of parade and Musicians performing with on the streets of Fort Kochi during New Year carnival.

Cochin Carnival is not only the celebration of the people of Kerala but is more than a fabulous treat for those tourists who flew to God’s Own Country to celebrate New Year. It is indeed a happy feeling to watch a lot of tourists indulging in the vibrant festive spirit along with the people of Kerala and together welcoming New Year with great enthusiasm during the Cochin Carnival.

The huge procession on the New Year day enriched with beautifully caparisoned elephants, accompanied by performances of talented folk artists, Chenda melam, music created by the harmonious blending of five instruments known as Panchavadyam and elaborate displays mounted on platforms offers a feast for both the eyes and ears. And the procession culminates at the beach late at night where the 35 feet huge effigy of Pappanhi is burnt at zero hours on December 31st. The event is sure to leave you in awe and you can party all night till the dawn with dance and music.

Cochin Carnival Christmas celebration

Cochin Carnival is a great time for shopping and feasting as well. The Vasco Da Gama Square and the streets around are filled with dozens of stalls where you can buy souvenirs, traditional garments, artificial jewelry, and many other things. You can also find here numerous restaurants of the varying budget levels around Fort Kochi where you can enjoy many mouth-watering delicacies.

Highlights of Cochin Carnival:

The major highlights of the Cochin Carnival are:

  • Pappanhi:

The giant statue of old man, fondly known as Pappanhi is no doubt, the main highlight of Cochin Carnival. The effigy of Pappanhi is burnt exactly at the stroke of midnight and it signifies the end of a passing year and welcoming of the New Year. Doing so symbolizes the burning of all the ills and welcoming New Year with hope and harmony.

  • Spectacular Procession:

The spectacular Procession which includes Chenda Melam, traditional dance, music, tableaux, etc that begins from Fort Kochi and ends in the beach, by late-night is another exciting feature of Cochin Carnival.

  • Panchavadyam Music:

The electrifying music created by the harmonious blending of five instruments, Panchavadyam is a traditional art form of Kerala and a highlighting part of Cochin Carnival that need not be missed at any cost and is sure to make you tap your feet to the music. 

  • Biggest Christmas Tree:

The huge banyan tree at Veli ground is lit up and decorated with lights and other decorative making it the biggest Christmas tree in the town. It is another major attraction of Cochin Carnival.

  • Competitions:

A lot of competitions and various activities and games like Wrestling, Boxing, Tug of War, Beach Bike Race, Cycle race, Sea Swimming, Beach Football and Beach Volleyball, Kayaking, etc are held during Cochin Carnival to entertain the visitors. People thoroughly enjoy participating in these competitions and there are exciting prizes for the winners as well.

  • Fancy Costume Parade:

It is so surprising and interesting to watch people of all ages taking part enthusiastically in the Fancy Costume Parade during Cochin Carnival.

  • Musical Concerts:

Last but not least the late-night Musical Concerts keep up the festive spirit till the dawn.

Getting There:

By Air: Cochin International Airport, about 36.6 Km. 

By Rail: Ernakulam Junction Railway Station, about 12.7 Km.

By Road: Kochi is well-connected to all major towns and cities in South India as well as across the country by an excellent network of roads. Reaching Fort Kochi is never a problem as both State transport buses and private buses, autorickshaws, taxis and cabs are easily available. 

An unidentified couple wear carnival masks during the Cochin Carnival New Year's day celebration in Fort Kochi

The countdown to New Year is on and be prepared for the power-packed Cochin Carnival to welcome the glorious year with a blast of fun, good cheer and full of joyful vibes. 

Kerala Tourism Holiday offers various tour packages and customized tour packages to take you through the rich cultural heritage and grand festivities of Kerala.

Enquire now and grab the best deals and offers.

Feel free to visit and get the best deals for your itineraries.

Leave a Reply