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The local inhabitants of the land, Keralites are popularly called "Malayalees" because of the language they speak (Malayalam). They are known for their hospitality and kindness.

DRESSING

Local Culture

The traditional costume of women, the 'Saree', is known world wide simply for the art that goes behind the draping of six meters of wonderful silk or cotton cloth to form an exquisite costume in itself. During the earlier days women also wore mundu- neriyathu, a two-piece clothing similar to the Saree. Today more convenient dresses like the Salwar Kameez and western clothes are more popular among the young generation.

Mundu(dhothi) is the traditional wear for Malayelee men. These are beautifully woven cotton clothes bordered in gold or silver thread or other bright colors. Today men mostly wear trousers and shirts like the rest of the world.

WORDS OF GREETINGS

Malayalees are polite and courteous people. And they usually greet each other with the word "Namaskaaram" or "Namaste".

MARRIAGE CUSTOMS

Kerala has its own marriage customs and code of morals.Local Culture These however again vary subtly among different communities. The long grand ceremony of celebrating the union of two persons in matrimony is nothing less than a festival.Kerala has its own marriage customs and code of morals.

The Hindus generally compare the horoscope of the boy with that of the girl, and make sure of celestial compatibility before the proposal for the marriage. The engagement is traditionally a solemn and official function that involves the older men of the two families. During the function, a date is fixed for the wedding. The main function on the wedding day is Thalikettu or the tying of Thaali, a leaf shaped pendant on a gold chain that is specially made for the bride by the groom's family. That is followed by pudavokodukkal or pudamuri which is the presentation of mundu-neriyathu (plain cream cloth with golden border similar to a sari). The marriage ceremony is a short affair with music (Nathaswaram) being played in the background. The marriage is followed by sumptuous meal (sadya) served on plantain leaf in the traditional way. Over 500 people consisting of relatives and friends attend a typical marriage. Many marriages are held at Temples and then followed by the traditional ring and thali exchange.

The Christians and Muslims have their own characteristic marriage ceremonies. In the Christian tradition engagement is referred to as manasammatham, during which the bride to be and the bridegroom to be have to appear before the church authorities for manasammadham (declaration of consent). Close relatives accompany them. The thaali of the Christians is called minnu. It is pear shaped and has a cross on it. It is worn on a cord made out of 21 threads from the wedding sari or mantrakodi, which is also presented to the bride. Thalikettu and giving of the mantrakodi are functions incorporated into the Christian wedding from the Hindu tradition.

The main wedding ceremony among the Muslims is called Nikkah. The father of the bride sits face to face with the bridegroom, clasping each other's hands. The musaliar ( priest), then announces the conditions of the marriage contract and the bride and groom give their consent. The mahar or the amount the bridegroom has agreed to pay to the bride will also then be publicly announced. The women do not generally take part in the Nikkah.

LITERATURE

Malayalam is the local language of the state. The rich language has its own script and grammar. Malayalam literature has also been truly blessed with marvelous masterpieces by several geniuses. Most of the novels and stories have a touch of real life. Works of ancient times are one of the best ways to gather an insight on the history and culture that prevailed. There are many beautiful poems as well. Works by famous writers during the early 1900s have played a major role in motivating the mass during the freedom struggle. Kerala has a rich theatre movement addressing and ushering in social change. The talents of many writers have lead to the making of memorable movies in the last 75 years.

General works on Malayalam literature
1. Bhaskaran, T. Malayalam poet with special reference to Krishnagatha. Trivandrum: Kerala Historical Society, 1978. xv, 296 p.
2. Chaitanya, Krishna. A History of Malayalam Literature. New Delhi: Orient Longman, 1971. xii, 596 p.
Malayalam writers who feature in Makers of Indian Literature Series
1. Asan, Kumaran, 1873-1924. * George, Karimpumannil Mathai, Kumaran Asan. New Delhi: Sahitya Academy, 1972. 82 p.
2. Ezhuttachhan, Tunchattu Ramanujan, 16th cent. * Pillai, K. Raghavan, Ezhuttacchan. New Delhi: Sahitya Academy, 1986. 85 p.
3. Iyer, Ulloor S. Parameswara, 1877-1949. * Azhicode, Sukumar, Mahakavi Ulloor. New Delhi: Sahitya Academy, 1979. 103 p.
4. Kurup, G. Sankara, 1901-1978. * Leelavathi, M, 1927- Mahakavi G. Sankara Kurup. New Delhi: Sahitya Academy, 1990. 91 p.
5. Menon, Oyyarattu Chantu, 1847-1899. * Menon, T.C. Shankara Chandu Menon. New Delhi: Sahitya Academy, 1974.
6. Menon, Vallathol Narayana, 1878-1958. * Hrdayakumari, B., 1930- Vallathol. New Delhi: Sahitya Academy, 1974. 95 p.
Classical works
1. Ezhuttachhan, Tunchattu Ramanujan, 16th cent. * Dr.C.Achutha Menon, 1894-1952. Ezhuttachhan and his Age. Madras: University of Madras,1940.
2. Unnayivariyar, 18th cent. Nalacharitham. Trans. by V. Subramania Iyer. Trichur: Kerala Sahitya Academy, 1977. 264 p.
Autobiography
1. Mappillai, K.C. Mammen, 1873-1953. [Jivitasmaranakal] Reminiscences. Trans. by Moorkkothu Kunhappa. Kottayam: Malayala Manorama Pub. House, 1980. xix, 270 p.
2. Namboodiripad, E.M.S., 1909 [Atmakatha] How I became a Communist. Trans. by P.K. Nair. Trivandrum: Chinta Publishers, 1976. viii, 211 p.
Drama including film scripts
1. Bhasi, Thoppil, 1924-1992 [Mooladhanam] Capital. Trans. by K.T. Ramavarma. Trichur: Kerala Sahitya Academy 1979. 190 p.
2. Omcheri [Pralayam, 1971] The flood. Trans. by Paul Jacob. In "Enact" July 1973.
Drama anthologies
1. Kathakali manjari. Edited by S.K. Nayar. Madras: Government Oriental Manuscripts Library, 1956. Various pagings.
2. Selected One Act Plays. Edited by K.M. Tharakan. Trichur: Kerala Sahitya Academy, 1983. vii, 146 p.
Fiction
1. Basheer, Vaikom Muhammad, 1910-1994. [Shabdangal, 1947 & Mathilukal, 1965] Voices: the walls. Trans. by V. Abdulla. Bombay: Orient Longman, 1976. vi, 97 p.
2. Menon, Oyyarattu Chandu, 1847-1899. [Indulekha, 1889] Crescent Moon. Trans. by R. Leela Devi. New Delhi:Pankaj Publications, 1979. 195 p.
3. Pillai, Thakazhi Sivasankara, 1912 [Chemmeen, 1956] Chemmeen: a novel. Trans. by Narayana Menon. New York: Harper, 1962. 228 p.; Bombay: Jaico, 1968. xiv, 221 p.; Hong Kong: Heinemann, 1978. 228 p.; Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1979. 228 p.
4. O V Vijayan (1930 -2005) After the Hanging and other stories The Saga of Dharmapuri The Legends of Khasak Infinity of Grace
Fiction anthologies
1. From Comorin to Kashmir: an anthology of Malayalam short stories. Trans. by M.I. Kuruvilla. New Delhi: Navrang, 1989. 269 p.
2. Malayalam Short Stories: An Anthology. Trans. by Sukumar Azhikode. Trichur: Kerala Sahitya Academy, 1976. 6, xxi, 358 p.
Poetry
1. Asan, Kumaran, 1873-1924. * Poetry and Renaissance; Kumaran Asan Birth Centenary volume. Edited by M. Govindan. Madras: Sameeksha, 1974.
2. Guru, Narayana, 1854-1928. Anthology of the poems of Narayana Guru. Trans. by the author. Bangalore: Gurukul Institute of Aesthetic Values, 1977. 84 p.
3. Iyer, Ulloor S. Parameswara, 1877-1949. English essays and poems of Mahakavi Ulloor. Selected and edited by N. Viswanathan. Trivandrum: University of Kerala, 1978. xvi, 304 p.
4. Kurup, G. Sankara, 1901-1978. [Odakkuzhal, 1950] Odakkuzhal and other poems. Trans. by V.V. Menon. Madras: the translator, 1966. 66 p.
Poetry anthologies
1. Pula-pattu: six old Malayalam songs of the Kanakka Cherumas. Edited and trans. by Cheruman Chatthan. Palghat: n.p., 1917. 8 p.
2. Malayalam Poetry Today: An Anthology of Malayalam Poems Edited by K.M. Tharakan. Trichur: Kerala Sahitya Academy, 1984. xii, 194 p.

MOVIES

Cinema and theatre have always Local Culturebeen a popular recreation among the Malayalees. Starting with a manually operated film projector in 1907, cinema and movies have come a long way. Today there are many multiplexes with state of the art equipment and modern facilities. Even in this age when CDs and DVDs are popular, there are cinema halls that run to almost full capacity.

Most of the films are based on well-known and widely accepted works by famous novelists and scriptwriters. Malayalam cinema is noted for the edge of reality and beautiful depiction of everyday life and its complexities that are portrayed on reel. These movies have also good touch of humour built into the storyline. Malayalam cinema has earned national and international recognition at various festivals.

Kerala's cinema industry is also noted for the songs with meaningful lyrics and melodious tunes that are picturised in the movies.

Famous directors include Adoor Gopalakrishnan who features prominently in the International scene. Famous film stars include Mammooty, Mohanlal and Dileep. Prem Nazir, one of the actors of yester years, holds the world record of acting in the maximum number of movies.

FOOD HABITS

Malayalees prefer non-greasy food. To a large extent, rice is the staple food. The routine diet in a family consists of breakfast, lunch, tea and supper. The main item on the breakfast menu is a derivative of rice or rice products. Puttu (with Kadala curry), Appam (with stew), Idli (with sambar) and Dosa (with chutney) are most often seen at breakfast tables.

The main dish on the lunch menu is steam-cooked rice or Choru, special curries and butter milk. Plain rice served with an upperi or 'thoran' (roasted vegetables) and some koottan/gravy/ curry forms the lunch. There is also a medley of pickles and chutneys. The crunchy pappadams are truly an indispensable item in lunches. The most popular dessert is the creamy tasty Paayasam.

Early in the evening most Malayalee families gather together for a cup of tea or coffee and some sweet or delicacy. There are a whole variety of snacks and sweet dishes. The supper that follows (usually around 8 pm Indian time) comprises either Kanji (rice porridge) or similar items as for the lunch.

Though the vegetarian dishes of Kerala are very popular, most of the people are non -vegetarians. Non-vegetarian dishes are prepared using chicken, beef, pork, and seafood including mussels, crabs and prawns. There are some mouth-watering dishes prepared with fresh water fish.

There is no great difference in the dietary habits of the Christians and Muslims. Wheat preparations like Poori, Chappathi and Uppuma are becoming popular. Coconut oil is used in most of the preparations.

Local Culture

SADHYA

This is the general name given to a typical traditional Kerala meal. Freshly prepared rice is served on plantain leaves. Kaalan (spiced up curry made of melon and ripe mangoes in butter milk), Olan (white pumpkins, grams cooked in thick coconut milk), and Erisseri (jackfruit in a thick peppery gravy) are the most popular side dishes. Gourds, pumpkins, mangoes, jackfruit, pulses and coconuts are the predominant ingredients used in preparing dishes. Crisp banana chips and pappadams supplement the typical feast. A yummy helping of payasam made of rice and milk is the most popular dessert. There are payasams made with peas and grams. The taste and flavour are often enhanced with cardamom, cashew nuts and raisins.

NEWSPAPER

Local Culture
The following are some of the popular newspapers available on the stands.
1. Deepika Malayalam - English edition available
2. Deshabhimani DailyMalayalam
3. The Hindu English
4. The Indian Express English
5. Kerala Kaumudi Malayalam
6. Madhyamam DailyMalayalam
7. Malayala Manorama Daily Malayalam
8. Mangalam Daily Malayalam
9. Mathrubhumi Daily Malayalam
Some of these newspapers have Internet editions.
Magazines, Local, National and International newspapers are available at the newsstands in all major cities and towns.

TELEVISION CHANNELS

TV programmes are a major form of entertainment for the Malayalees. Almost every house has a TV and most of them have cable TV connection. The major hotels have terrestrial and satellite channels available in majority of the rooms. The major news channels available here are:
1. Doordarshan (National channel of India in Hindi)
2. CNN (English news channel)
3. NDTV 24X7 (English News channel)
4. BBC Online (English news channel)
5. ZEE TV (Hindi news channel)
6. Asianet (Malayalam)
7. Asianet News (Malayalam news channel)
8. Surya TV (Malayalam)
9. Kairali TV (Malayalam)
10. Jeevan TV (Malayalam)
11. Indiavision (Malayalam news channel)
Other than the above mentioned channels, there are plenty of music channels including MTV and Channel V playing latest Malayalam, English and Hindi music. Cable TV offers more than 70 channels round the clock.

SPORTS

People of Kerala are enthusiastic about sports as well. Games like kabaddi (similar to Kho-kho), Kuttiyum kolum (a simple Indian version of cricket), thumbi thullal etc are some of the traditional games of the state. Today, games like cricket and football, basketball and volleyball are extremely popular. There are many sports clubs and societies that hold matches from time to time. Kerala also has an excellent football team having won the National title on several occasions. People in Kerala follow League matches of European countries with interest.

Kerala is also gifted with some outstanding performers in athletics. TC Yohananan, PT Usha, Shiny Wilson, Anju Bobby George and Bobby Aloysius are some of the well-known athletes who have won medals in National, Asian and International contests

GOLFING

Golf as a game and means of recreation is gradually gaining popularity in Kerala. Several large hotels and resorts are now specially maintaining acres of land with vast stretches of velvet lawns. Most of them are in and around Ernakulam, Trivandrum, Munnar and Peerumedu.
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