With immense zest and zeal thousands flock to Fort Kochi on New Year’s Eve to welcome the New Year by burning the massive statue of an old man named, Pappanji. Burning of this 35-feet huge Pappanji that stands tall amidst the crowd, just like a skyscraper symbolises the welcoming of hope and harmony.
Fort Kochi’s biggest gala the Cochin Carnival organised by the District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC), Ernakulam is celebrated every year in the last two weeks of December. The Ceremony of Peace at the War Memorial followed by the hoisting of the Carnival Flag at the Vasco da Gama Square marks the beginning of this spectacular fiesta. This port city welcomes the New Year festooned like a gorgeous Christian bride with white paper decorations all around. Impressive events like fairs, cultural shows, food festivals, bike and cycle races, rallies, beach football, arts and games and so forth enhance the festive spirit.
Besides all these eye catching programmes, Pappanji makes the event all the more splendid and spellbinding. This statue of the old man is burnt at zero hour on the 31st of December. A grand party with music and dance follows this and continues till dawn.
A procession enriched with caparisoned elephants, folk performances, vibrant costumes, music and percussions taken out on New Year’s Day is a fantastic kick off to the New Year.
Cochin Carnival is a cultural reflection of the hybrid past of Fort Kochi. It has its origins rooted deep in the Portuguese and British rule. The Portuguese New Year celebrations during the colonial era gradually paved the way for the Cochin Carnival. Based on the themes ‘Participation’, ‘Development’, ‘Peace’, ‘Adventure’ and ‘Environment’, the Carnival was conceived in the International Year of the Youth.
A visual extravaganza awaited both by the tourists and locals alike, Cochin Carnival of Kerala remains in the hearts of everyone who experiences it long after the event.
Celebrate the rebirth of life and leave with the rhythm of Fort Kochi ringing in your hearts this New Year!
Nearest railway station: Ernakulam Junction, about 1½ km from the main boat jetty
Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport, about 30 km from Ernakulam