Manarcad Perunnal is a popular annual festival that celebrates the annual feast of the St. Mary’s Church, situated in Manarcad, in the Kottayam district of the beautiful south Indian state of Kerala. The festival gets its name from its location; that is Manarcad, and is actually an eight days long observance filled with devotion and festivities. The date of the festival is decided based on Malayalam calendar, which is the same for any other traditional festivals of Kerala, and going by that, this year in 2017, the Manarcad Perunnal festival will be observed from the 1st of September till the 8th of September. It must also be noted that the festival, which includes fast and retreat begins every year on the 1st of September itself and goes on for eight days, that is, till the 8th of September.
There are over thousands of devotees who come forward for the celebration of this festival as they spend their entire time from day till night in the church premises, participating in the devotional activities. Locally, this festival is known by the name of ‘’Ettonoyambu,’’ wherein ‘’Ettu’’ means the number eight and ‘’Noyambu’’ means fasting. Thus, this festival includes devotees fasting for eight days and many of them come from far off places to gather at the St. Mary’s Church to observe their fast and also offer their prayers.
During the final three days of the festival, a huge procession marches forward as it carries the sacred golden crosses, and this also happens to be one of the major highlights of this eight days long festival. The procession has all devotees walking in it, as they carry with them decorated parasols, traditionally known as muthukkuda. These muthukkudas are colorful and represent a beauty of its own as all the devotees carry them and march forth in the procession.
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