Introduction to the Muharram in Kerala
In a country like India where people belonging to several religious
faiths live in harmony, the festivals associated with the religions
are also celebrated with ceremonial elegance and splendor. However
Muharram is one such festival in which the celebrations are not marked
by a great deal of joy and elation. This is because it is held to
commemorate the death of Hussein.
History of the Muharram in Kerala
Muharram is a festival that is held in remembrance of Immam Hussein,
the grandson of Prophet Mohammad. In the year 680 A.D. Hussein and
his followers were killed at Karbala on this very day. Their display
of courage is eulogized to this day. It is in memory of their extremely
painful death that Muslims celebrate Muharram.
Description of the Muharram in Kerala
Taziyas (Impressively decorated replicas of the Martyr's Tomb)
are taken out in processions on the occasion of Muharram in Kerala.
The air reverberates with the sounds of the beating of drums and the
mournful cries of the followers lamenting the death of Hussein. One
can also witness scenes from the Karbala battlefield being enacted
in this procession. Many wrestlers inflict wounds on themselves and
many people are seen beating their breasts and taking the name of
Fasting is a customary observance that is religiously followed by
the Muslims on the day of Muharram. The Shia Muslims follow this ritual
even more rigidly.
The most unique feature of the celebrations of Muharram in Kerala
is the "Pulikali" or Tiger Dance. The Muslims of Kerala
paint their bodies and wear masks so that they resemble tigers. It
is not just their guise which is akin to that of a tiger, their gestures
and body movements are also similar to that of a tiger. Tiger stands
for guts and courage. Their purpose of imitating a tiger is to show
that Hussein's valor can be comparable to that of a tiger.
Religious Leaders enlighten the people on the events of Karbala in
the gatherings that are held on the occasion of Muharram.
Time for celebrating the Muharram in Kerala
Muharram is celebrated on the tenth day of the month of Muharram.
It corresponds to the month of May according to the Gregorian calendar.
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the colourful backwaters of Kerala. The Kettuvalloms of
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The rich and glorious Kerala cultural heritage is
reflected in the vibrant Kerala festivals that mirror
the ancient traditions, customs, beliefs and faiths of
the people of Kerala, South India.The festivals of Kerala,
South India are annual occasions that are celebrated for
commemorating religious occasions. Some of the popular
Kerala festivals are Onam, Vishu, Mahasivarathri, Asthami
Rohini, Thiruvathira, Pooram Festival and Thrissur Pooram.
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