NEW YEAR AT FORT COCHIN II.

Cochin Carnival

"Everything being a constant carnival, there is no carnival left."

VICTOR HUGO

.

Photo: Abul Kalam Azad - Ekalokam Trust for Photography, Tiruvannamalai (EtP, 1985).

.

In 1984, three youngsters from Cochin – George Augustine Thundiparambil (Roy), Ananda Felix Scaria (Ananda Surya) and Antony Anup Scaria (Anoop) decided to organise a month-long grand public event to celebrate the signing of a UN proclamation declaring 1985 as the International Youth Year. They announced the Beach Festival with a grand programme at the Mahatma Gandhi beach.

.

Photo | Cochin Carnival, 2017: Zuzana Zwiebel

.

More than 150 youth groups representing different clubs and organisations pooled in their resources and ideas for the event. Although the Carnival, as in its current avatar, was not in the original programme, it was added at a later stage. This spectacular event started during the second week of December 1984 with a cycle race followed by other local ethnic games like tug of war, kuttiyum kolum, kabaddi, chakku (jute bag) race, swimming in the sea etc. Music concerts, dance performances and plays were conducted on the beach. The event ended on January 1, 1985 (International Youth Year) with a procession of various cultural representations from all over India called Carnivale Cochin.

.

Photo | Cochin Carnival, 2017: Zuzana Zwiebel

.

Some of the other names associated with the first Carnival are Nirmal John Augustine, Radha Gomathi and Abul Kalam Azad (photographer), who later became an active member of the team. From its inception, the then Deputy Mayor K.J. Sohan was a part of the event.

Thirty two years later, the Carnival continues to fire the imagination of the young and the old alike. With each passing year it has grown bigger, more creative and festive, the tableaux showcasing the artistry of their makers.

.

HIJRA - Dressed in glittering saris, their faces painted with bright make up, a group of women gather outside an Indian temple to offer blessings to visitors. They are hijras, the term used to describe cross dressers, intersex people and transgender women who make up the country's third gender. While some of the men are castrated in their journey to become hijras, for many the transformation is a primarily spiritual one. A number undertake a 40-day self-emasculation ritual in the name of the Hindu goddess of Bachuchara Mata. Their communities across south-east Asia date back more than 4,000 years and they appear in ancient texts as bearers of luck and fertility. But while for centuries they were sought after to perform blessings and ceremonies, their long-standing religious respect has not protected the hijra from modern-day discrimination. Widespread prejudice means that it can often be difficult for hijras to find permanent homes - and they are often driven to live in communes on the fringes of society. More (soon) →

.

PHOTO GALLERY

Photo | Cochin Carnival, 2017: Zuzana Zwiebel

.

Celebration starts with Burning of Pappanji - More: NEW YEAR AT FORT COCHIN I. - Burning of Pappanji


PHOTO: Zuzana Zwiebel

TEXT: THE HINDU & Zuzana Zwiebel

Tags: History | Kerala | India | Festivals | Fort Cochin | Carnival | New Year

SIGN UP TO OUR NEWSLETTER

Our monthly newsletter brings you our latest

First Name
Last Name
Email
Enter captcha