Yes, you read that right! One of the biggest festivals we have, the festival of lights, fire crackers and all things magical is not so huge in Kerala. They have never celebrated Diwali with much fervor and for those of us who have believed that the festival was a big thing in every nook and corner of India, this is definitely surprising.
Onam, Vishu, Christmas and Shivaratri are some of the major festivals of Kerala and perhaps the only festivals celebrated with a good amount of enthusiasm. Diwali, on the other hand is only celebrated in some big cities such as Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram by less than half of the population. What is the possible reason for Diwali being such a low-key affair here? Read on to find out.
Reason 1 : Asuras aren’t considered to be the bad guys here
One of the major rulers of Kerala, Mahabali, was an asura (another term for rakshas). And this means asuras aren’t really the bad guys here in Kerala. Since Ravana, whose demise is one of the primary reasons behind Diwali is an asura, this festival is not celebrated with all that much of zeal here.
Reason 2 : The new crop season does not begin now in Kerala
While there are stories attached to each festival, one of the major driving forces behind the celebration of any festival in India is its relation to agriculture. Since Diwali is the end of monsoons and start of a fresh harvest season, that is one of the reasons behind the celebrations. However, Kerala just gets started with its North-East monsoons and there really is no reason to celebrate in connection with the agricultural practices here.
Reason 3 : The weather is not favorable either
Most of the time, since the second round of monsoons (that is the North eastern monsoons) are just beginning here, during Diwali, Kerala ends up having some of the heaviest rains. Neither lighting up our homes nor bursting fire crackers is easy under this kind of rainfall because of which Diwali cannot celebrated in full swing each year.
Reason 4 : Hinduism is not really the only major religion here
Kerala is quite complex and diversified when it comes to its religion. Despite having a considerable number of Hindus, it has a lot of Christians and Muslims as well and in most of the towns, Hindus are very less in number compared to the people of other religions. This could be the reason why Diwali is not as huge as in the other states of the country where it is mostly the Hindu population that is at large.
Reason 5 : It’s near-isolated location in the country
Kerala, being located in the southern most part of the country has been somewhat isolated from the rest of the country until after the post British era with the Western ghats acting as a barrier. This is the reason why many of the festivals that are celebrated in the rest of the country haven’t really caught up with the people of Kerala. Diwali maybe big everywhere else in the country but it is still yet to get that popular here, especially in the smaller towns. In fact, holi and rakshabandhan aren't that big here either.
Reason 6 : People are completely spent with Onam by the time Diwali arrives
Onam is a huge thing in Kerala and we know of this too well. And Onam comes just before Diwali. It is possible that people are drained out of not just their enthusiasm but also their financial resources with the lengthy Onam festivities and are no longer interested in Diwali which always follows almost immediately.
Reason 7 : Ram is not one of the largely worshiped gods here
Even among the Hindus that Kerala has got, Ram is not one of the most worshiped gods here. We know that Diwali is celebrated majorly because Ram is supposed to have killed Ravan on this day. The fact that Ram-devotees are not really a major part of Kerala’s population could be yet another reason why Diwali is not a big thing here.
However, the festival of lights is getting more popular by the day here and there might come a day when the Diwali celebrations of Kerala are just as grand as everywhere else.