Kerala Local Customs
The pristine beauty of Kerala derives from the local customs and traditions that date back to historical times. Kerala is famous for its folk art and the traditional dance forms like the Kathakali and Mohiniyattom. The customs in the temples in Kerala differ from traditions practiced in other South Indian states. The priests or poojaris are silent during the pooja. The deity is kept out of sight during the pooja from the devotees by closing the altar during a part of the pooja. The priest recites mantras in silence while the devotees keep silent. After the prasanna pooja the door opens and the crowd of devotees can catch a glimpse of the decorated deity with the traditional lights lit up.
Marriage customs in Kerala derive their foundation on the tradition of Kettukalyanam. It was practiced by the Nairs, Kshatriyas, Ezhavas, Arayas, pulayas and certain tribes to conduct ritual marriages of their daughters of different age groups. They were married to adult males. Sometimes one man married several girls. In some cases, the bridegroom even acted as the priest by tying a sacramental thread around the bride's neck.
Other local customs of Kerala include the rite de passage, rites of childbirth and cousin marriage.
The people of Kerala are distinguished by a fair complexion, regular features and clean habits. The closing of a festival is marked by the Arattu or holy bath. The idols of the deities are carried in a procession to the river for the bath. The purified idols are escorted back to the temple by a grand elephant pageant - the panchavadyam. Pongal is the practice of offering rice, jaggery, coconut and plantains to the goddess Bhagavathy. Among the Muslims is the practice of Chandanakudam or the ritual offering of coins on earthen pots in shrines. Marumakkathayam is the matrilineal system of inheritance. Some of the other traditions of Kerala are: Achuttuvilakku, Paraveppu, Velichappadu / komaram etc.
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