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What is Cochin Carnival?

The Cochin Carnival is an annual Christmas celebration held in the city of Cochin, India. It is one of the most unique events in the city, as on the last day of the year they burn the figure of Santa Claus or Santa Claus. This carnival is one of the most awaited events in the city that residents and tourists receive with great excitement.

The Cochin Carnival is a 10-day celebration and is held in the last week of December, ending on New Year’s Day. It is a period full of dancing, color, Christmas decorations, music and a great celebratory atmosphere. The celebration has been the result of a syncretism of the various cultures that have been in contact with the city, such as the Portuguese, Punjabi, Arab and Dutch cultures.



The Cochin carnival celebration operates under 5 basic principles: Participation, Peace, Progress, Adventure and Environment. In addition, the city is completely covered in white color decoration, which symbolizes peace and tranquility. Cochin carnivals are a celebration that contemplates the various events of the city with the new year celebrations, making it a celebration of the past, present and future.

Today’s Cochin Carnival is a grand celebration of culture and tradition both past and present. It is also an amalgamation of different cultures found in the region such as Portuguese, Dutch, Gujarati, Konkani, Malayalee, Andhra, Kannada, Tamil, Arabic, Punjabi and anglo culture. The objective of the Cochin Carnival is to promote and uphold six principles, knowledge, peace, progress, environment, participation and adventure.

During the carnival, you can observe hundreds of people with festive outfits, exotic multicolored costumes and an incredible atmosphere of celebration. The games and art are also important elements in the festivities, especially for the city’s children who wait with great excitement for the New Year’s Eve ceremony and parade. The streets are filled with aromas from the various food stands.

The District Tourism Promotion Council is the one who takes on the task every year to carry out the celebrations, expecting every year the participation of the citizens of Cochin and other tourists who come from other surrounding regions.


Cochin Carnival is a blend of Cochin's own cultures with the European ones

Cochin Carnival is a blend of Cochin’s own cultures with the European ones



When is Cochin Carnival

The Cochin Carnival celebration is a decennial celebration, which takes place exclusively in the last week of the month until the new year.

TheCochin Carnival will be held from approximately December 25 to Friday, December 31.



History of Cochin Carnival

Carnival is a celebration whose origins are European. Additionally, it marks particular events in the Roman Catholic Church, for this reason it is most often celebrated during the month of February and March, before the beginning of Lent. The tradition managed to spread to various nations of Europe and with this, managed to spread to nations of other continents due to the processes of colonization.

The colonizers fulfilled the task of spreading knowledge and religious practices wherever they arrived, so the Catholic beliefs were imposed on other societies around the world, including the carnival. Cochin carnival is one such case, especially with the direct contact of Portuguese colonizers and other cultures such as Punjabi, Arab and Dutch.

The origin of the Cochin Carnival dates back to the Portuguese colonial era, which dates from the sixteenth century to the seventeenth century. The city of Cochin was at that time the headquarters during the period of Portuguese rule in India. Thus, the city began to celebrate the year-end festivities of the Gregorian calendar, so that during the month of December preparations began to receive the new year. The betrayals permeated society to such an extent that they continued to be celebrated even after the Portuguese left the country.

In the late 1980s of the 20th century, a group of young people decided to organize a festival to celebrate the signing of a UN proclamation calling for the international celebration of youth by the year 1985. The project was approved by more than a hundredyouth groups, including clubs and organizations. The carnival began in 1984 and featured a program full of games, sporting events and urban art, culminating on the first of the year in 1985.

On the first of the year, a carnival parade was held through the streets of the city, which featured various groups, elephants and entertainment events. The festival continued to have the active participation of young people from the city, who began to adapt the festivities and add new elements over the years to acquire the form in which they are presented today.


Where is the Cochin Carnival?

Carnivals are held in the city of Cochin, Kerala state, India. Much of the entertainment and events take place in Cochin Fort.

The city of Cochi has an area of 94 square kilometers and is home to nearly 700,000 people.


People attend the Cochin Carnival in traditional costumes or masquerade costume

People attend the Cochin Carnival in traditional costumes or masquerade costume



How Cochin Carnival is celebrated

The Cochin Carnival is a grand celebration of culture and tradition both past and present. The celebration is an amalgamation of different cultures found in the region such asPortuguese, Dutch, Gujarati, Tamil, Arabic, Punjabi and Anglo culture. At the carnival you can find hundreds of people dressed in exotic colorful costumes to participate and party.

The Cochin Carnival is a celebration for everyone, so you will find hundreds of thousands of activities taking place in the streets of the city. During the days of celebration, you will see several activities going on at the same time such as the Kalam Vara, which consists of painting the ground with different materials and various sports activities such as swimming, beach volleyball,beach soccer, wrestling, boxing, bullet racing, kayakingand cycling.

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Although the climax of the carnivals is on December 31, there is a continuous party every day, especially with the art shows, gastronomic festivals, colorful rallies and fairs add to the festive spirit of the carnival, amusement park, live concerts and of course, the decoration of the city with cheerful elements that are in white, bringing peace and tranquility. One of the most striking events in theCochin Carnival is the Burning of Santa Claus.


Tips for going to the Cochin Carnivals

If you wish to attend the Cochin Carnivals, we recommend planning your trip in advance, making a travel itinerary and booking your preferred accommodation well in advance. Also, remember to pack comfortable clothes so you can fully enjoy your carnivals.

The temperature in the city during these dates can be a little high, so we recommend you to stay hydrated and apply sunscreen frequently.


Events in Cochin Carnival

Although the various sports activities, the street art, the amusement park and the various fairs occur throughout the celebration, there are events that deserve some attention, as they stand out among all the other activities. The events that stand out the most during the Cochin carnival are:


Official Opening

This is the ceremony of making the carnival flag on the day the festive events begin. This is a ceremony seen in many other carnival celebrations and is a symbolic event that kicks off the festivities. The flag raising takes place at thePlaza Vasco da Gama..



Peace Ceremony

It is a celebration that occurs after theinauguration of the carnival. During the event a greatlive music concert is held with the participation of symphonic orchestras. The event is held at Plaza Vasco da Gama.


Burning of the Papaanji

The papaanji is a giant statuethat bears a certain resemblance to Papa Noel or Santa Claus. This doll is burned exactly at midnight, representing the end of a passing year and welcoming the New Year. After this, a gala party is held with dancing and music until morning.

It is believed that what gave the origin to this ceremony is the relation of the word in Portuguese to an old man. Most historians say that its origin lies in the past of the areas influenced by the Portuguese and British in their culture. In addition, the queda do muñeco is a long tradition that has been performed for several years. The ceremony is a symbolic rite, so people come forward to burn the statue of an old man, but what it really means is the burning of all the bad that has happened in the past to make way for the good and the new.


Carnival Parade

The carnival parade is held on the first of the year. The parade is an agglomeration of various typical carnival elements that mixes with the local and national culture. In the big show you can see dozens of groups crossing the streets with large costumes and colorful costumes, music groups, carrozas with theatrical presentations and some trucks that have speakers to play music.


During Cochin Carnival, a large Santa Claus doll is burned

During Cochin Carnival, a large Santa Claus doll is burned



Cochin Carnival Parades

OnNew Year’s Day a procession is organized led by elephants decorated with large patterned pieces of cloth. The procession is accompanied by drummers and music, colorful floats and different forms of folk art. There is also staging of different folk dances of southern and northern India.

Although the carnival celebration takes place in the month of December and has a strong influence of local culture, the parade has a great variety of traditional carnival elements, so you can see a long line of groupings, theatrical performances and musical bands.

One of the outstanding elements in the parade is the presence of Santa Claus or Santa Claus. In this case it is the living image of the character, a person dressed as him and not an effigy that they burn during the ceremony. In addition, the parade has some elephants, one of the elements that is repeated in various celebrations in the country and many other cities in the region.



In addition, the parade incorporates several bigheaded dolls or puppets that strut down the street, making little hops from side to side and waving to people. The parade also features thetraditional dancers, urban dancers, musicians and percussionists.

The parade also features several allegorical floats on which theatrical performances are held, incorporating religious events and characters, funny characters or historical scenes from general culture. The event is also an opportunity for groups to be creative in performingthematic repertoires, such as the staging of foreign traditions and Chinese dragon dancing.


Parade route


Various troupes are part of the Cochin Carnival

Various troupes are part of the Cochin Carnival



The parade takes place in the streets of the city until it reaches the Cochin Fort.


The Kulukki Sarbath is a version of the local lemonade

The Kulukki Sarbath is a version of the local lemonade


What to eat at Cochin Carnival

Cochin is a city that has a wide range of dishes that have been influenced by the various cultures that have been part of the city over the years. In the streets and restaurants of the city you can find various meat dishes, vegetarian dishes, a wide range of curries and refreshing drinks.

One of the typical drinks of the city of Cochin that you can try during the carnival celebrations is the Kulukki Sarbath. It is a kind of lemonade to which poppy seeds are added. All the ingredients are beaten vigorously and served very cold with a piece of lemon shell.

You can also try Parotta with meat. Parotta in itself is an element that is already part of various dishes, as it is a bread in the form of an omelet that can be served with many meats, eaten alone or accompanied by sauces. Parotta is made with maida flour, ghee and water. In addition, the recipe can vary and it is a typical food in the streets of the country and other surrounding regions.

In addition, the city also offers you some restaurants, bars and cafes where you can expand your gastronomic knowledge a little more. Some of the most famous places in the city are: Mosaic, Trilogi, Kochi Kitchen, Mary’s Kitchen and Latest Recipe.


Parotta with pork is one of the region's traitorous dishes

Parotta with pork is one of the region’s traitorous dishes



Travel Insurance

From we recommend to hire a good insurance to visit this carnival and to know the rest of the country. For being our readers we offer a 5% discount on all IATI insurances. Read more information about all insurance offers here:



What to see and do inside the Cochin Carnival

Once you find yourself at the Cochin Carnival, you can take part in or attend the wide variety of activities that take place on the streets of the city, such as the Kalam Vara, varioussporting activities such as swimming, beach volleyball, beach soccer, kayaking, swimming and cycling. In addition, you can take a stroll through the city to find the different craft stalls and gastronomic fairs that the city has for you.

The burning of papaanjiis a must, as it is the element that makes the carnivals in the city of Cochin so unique and particular. The parade is another of the strongest attractions of the carnival, by attending you willsee various musical groups, theatrical performances, hundreds of colorful, magical and fun costumes. In addition, you’ll see Santa Claus, dozens of puppets strutting down the street and several elephants making their way through the streets.

If you don’t want to complicate things, here you can book interesting excursions in Spanish in this city:.

Guided tours in Spanish around the world


What to see and do outside of the Cochin Carnivals

Some of the tourist attractions you can find in and around the city of Cochin are:

Lulu Shopping Mall

It is a large multi-purpose shopping mall. Inside you can find both national and international stores selling all kinds of products such as clothing, footwear and technology. In addition, the building has a large food fair and a small amusement park.


Kerala Folklore Museum and Theater

It is a history museum where you are going to have the chance to see a large number of statues, paintings, images, artifacts and hundreds of masks. In addition, the place also provides several fantastic plays depicting the history and religion of the country.


Chottanikkara Temple

It is one of the most important temples in the region. It is believed to be the resting place of Lakshmi along with the deity of Maha Vishnu. In addition, the temple is known to be able to cure psychological disorders and evil influences by demonic spirits.

Also if you want to visit museums and important buildings in this city we recommend that you book your entrance ticket in advance through Tiquets: .

Book tickets in the city you are visiting


Safety at Cochin Carnival



The city of Cochin is completely safe as long as you make sure to take precautions. Be sure not to visit unattended or abandoned places both day and night, keep your belongings in a safe place and contact the authorities if you manage to identify any suspicious activity. Also, use common sense to stay out of trouble.

A large number of police officers and security cameras are also deployed during carnivals to ensure the protection of all carnival goers. In addition, due to the large participation of women and children in the carnival and New Year’s parties in recent years, the various government agencies have put in place stricter security measures to protect this particular sector. Security in the locality has improved a lot in the last years due to the different actions taken by the security agencies.

It is always a good idea to keep your valuables in a safe place to avoid theft and misplacement. Also, we recommend the following products to keep your valuables safe:



Weather at Cochin Carnival

During the carnival celebration, the city of Cochin has a somewhat warm climate, with temperatures ranging from 23 to 32 degrees Celsius. We recommend packing comfortable and light clothing, applying sunscreen regularly and staying hydrated. Also, if possible, try to stay in the shade or buy an umbrella.


The floats are one of the elements that make up the Cochin Carnival parade

The floats are one of the elements that make up the Cochin Carnival parade



How to get to Cochin Carnival


How to get there by plane

The city of Cochin fortunately has its own airport which is located a few minutes from the city center. The airport receives a good number offlights from various parts of the country and the region such as Malaysia, Mumbai, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Kannur and many other regions and countries in Asia. Once you are at the airport, you can use the various means of transportation to reach the city center.

We recommend buying airline tickets through or Skyscanner where they are usually cheaper. More information on this link to review


How to get there by train

The city of Cochin has two stations located in different sectors that connect with other cities in the country such as Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.


How to get there by bus

From the airport you can take a bus directly to the city center using theKerala State Road Transport Corporation.


How to get there by car

From the airport you can take the Avinashi, then Tiruppuer, Palladam and Pollachi to reach the city center. The entire journey takes about one hour.

If you decide to take a cab, the taxi fare ranges from US$12 to US$15.


Where to stay at Cochin Carnival

Some of the accommodation options that the city of Cochin has to offer you are:


Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty

5-star hotel 1.3 km from Cochin city center. Rooms feature air conditioning, TV and private bathroom with whirlpool tub. The hotel has 2 swimming pools, gym, bar, spa and airport transfers.


Hotel Abad Plaza

4-star hotel 950 meters from Cochin city center. Rooms feature satellite TV, ironing facilities and refrigerator. The hotel provides swimming pool, spa, tea and coffee set, airport transfers, parking and free wifi.


Kochi Marriott Hotel

5 star hotel 7 km from Cochin city center. Rooms feature air conditioning, TV and private bathroom with bathtub, shower and toiletries. The hotel has a bar, spa, swimming pool, airport transfers, parking and free wifi.

We recommend you use to book hotels at a good price, check more information here:.


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