Thiruvananthapuram being the capital of Kerala, has one or other religious, state or tourist festivals celebrated every now and then throughout the year.
The Village Fair
An entire village of the bygone days of rural Kerala is recreated with artisans, Nalukettu (traditional house), temple, astrologer etc., so that the visitors will be able to see and visualize how people of Kerala in those days went about their lives. The festival lasts for a week from 3rd January. The village is set near Kovalam with displays of cultural performances like kathakali, koodiyattam, kalaripayattu, theyyam etc.
Nishagandhi Dance Festival
The Tourism Development Corporation organises the dance festival. Leading artists of Bharatanatyam, Mohiniyattam, Kathak, Odissi, modern ballet and other folk form will perform at the open-air theatre of Nishagandhi in the Kanakakunnu Palace compound. Admission is free and the festival usually is accompanied with music.
The festival is conducted during the 2nd week of February. Specialized chefs man stalls for each state. Spread through seven evenings, one can taste almost all types of delicacies of Indian cuisine from various regions of India those are prepared and sold. It will be worthwhile to have a go at the dishes from Kashmir to Kanyakumari.
Onam is a harvest festival celebrated in August-September to welcome the yearly homecoming of the legendary King 'Mahabali' who was generous, just and kind. People decorate their homes, wear new cloths and hold special games and competitions.
Athapoo, Onam Onam being the state festival, the tourism week is also celebrated with it. The streets of the capital are illuminated. Various cultural and traditional programs are staged at Kanakakunnu Palace and selected premises of the city. The tourism week concludes with a grand and colourful procession where floats and folk performances from every part of Kerala are presented.
Vetta & Arattu
This festival is celebrated twice in a year, once in Oct.-Nov. and other in March-April. Vetta represents Lord Vishnu hunting down the demon of evil in the forest. Late afternoon in the next day the Arattu procession begins. Images of Lord Padmanabha, Lord Krishna and Lord Narasimha are carried to the Arabian Sea at Sangumugham beach escorted by the members of the Royal Family. At sunset the images are ritually bathed in the sea. Returning the images in a procession back to the Padmanabhaswamy temple concludes the event. Several cultural programs including all-night Kathakali are performed during the festival.
Attukal Pongala is celebrated between 18-26 of February, every year, at Attukal Bhagavati Temple. It is a ten-day festival. On the 9th day, thousands of women devotees from many parts of the state gather in the vicinities of the temple to prepare pongala, a favourite offering to the goddess. They prepare pongala by cooking jaggery, cocout and banana in certain proportions and offer to the goddess. The ritual starts early morning and ends by the afternoon. The uniqueness of the festival is that only women are allowed to do the offerings on that day.