Kerala Piravi (Kerala Day) is the birthday of the state of Kerala is Southwestern India. See the map to the right. The red highlighted section is Kerala State.
November 1, 1956. As of 2022, Kerala turns 66! (Note: India’s Independence Day/Date is August 15, 1947.)
Between India’s independence (August 15, 1947) and Kerala statehood day, Kerala was divided into three regions – Malabar, Cochin and Travancore. Malabar was in the northern part of Kerala, while Cochin was in the center of Kerala, with Travancore at the far south of Kerala.
I have heard that a person from Kerala can be called a Keralite or a Malayalee. A Keralite (care – ah – light) is from the state of Kerala as well as a Malayalee or Malayali (pronounced the same – maal – ee- yaw- lee).
However, a Malayalee is a person who also speaks Malayalam. Typically and traditionally people from Kerala speak Malayalam, though nowadays there may be a small minority of people who are raised in Kerala who may not speak Malayalam as their mother tongue.
In Malayalam: Ellarkum ende sneham nirannya Kerala Peeravi ashamsakal.
This translates into English as: Heartfelt Kelara Piravi wishes to everyone.
Another Malayalam wish: Ente hridayam niranja kerala piravi ashamsakal
An abbreviated wish: Kerala Piravi ashamsakal. Or, Happy Kerala Piravi.
I have tried to twist my own tongue to wish you on this special day in Malayalam. Please forgive my horrible accent and the fact that I am pretty much reading off of a paper. Yes, I practiced, and yes, my clients helped me to draft this message (though they say I got it about 50% right with the limited Malayalam I initially drafted in it!)
The photo above is of the author with a Facebook photo frame that reads Keralappiravi Ashamsakal in Malayalam. The person in the photo is the blog owner, and cross-cultural trainer, Jennifer Kumar.
See the end of the post for the Malayalam and English translations.
If it is a working day, people may go to work dressed up in traditional Kerala dress, like the Kerala sari or settu mundu for women, and dhoti and shirt for men. See pictures of Kerala outfits and other Kerala national symbols below.
Schools may be the major setting for celebrating Kerala Piravi. Schools tend to celebrate the linguistic heritage of Kerala through Malayala bhaashaa vaaram- Or Malayalam language competitions. These cultural programs include literary competitions, recitations, elocution contests, reading competitions , debates, quizzes, and skits.
One of the most interesting Malayalam games I have witnessed was played among adults. Adults were asked to introduce themselves, saying their name, where they grew up, the school and college they went to, as well as a few elements of their current life. The focus was to say the entire introduction in Malayalam, not using even one English word. Out of 10 people, all failed, because everyone said, “school.”
Hopefully, by the time you have read this far, you have gathered the essential reasons for why Kerala Day (Kerala Piravi) is celebrated – to commemorate the bringing together of the Malabar, Cochin and Travancore areas of India into the independant state of India.
Yes, it is commemorated or celebrated by Malayalees (people from Kerala) who live in other states of India as well as in other countries of the world. Especially in the Middle East (Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Oman, etc.) where a large concentration of Keralites live, International and Indian schools will celebrate or commemorate this day.
A note on Wikipedia states that KERA means coconut tree (one of the state symbols as noted below), and that ALAM means place in Malayalam. So, when we combine these words we get Keralam, or the place of coconut trees. Now a days you can hear people refer to this land as Keralam, but the use of the word Kerala is more common.
There are also other Hindu myths of the formation of the place which are easy to Google.
Try this (from an American accent) Care – aah – lah (Lah sounds like “lu” in luck.)
(Click on the photo for a bigger size.)
Fun fact: The state of Karnataka, which borders Kerala to the north also shares it’s foundation birth and birthday with Kerala. Karnataka Rajyotsava or Karnataka Formation Day was also on November 1, 1956.
In English the Malayalam word “piravi” means “the birth” so “Kerala Piravi” means “The Birth of Kerala.” Some also call this day statehood day, state formation day, etc.
Ellarkum Namaskaram. Ende peru Jennifer. Enda naadu Rochester New York annu.. Korcha korcha malayalam ariyum.. njan nalla Malayalam para illa. Kerala innikki othiri istham annu. Innikki Inji puliyum pullisheeriyum biangra istham annu. Ellarkum ende sneham nirannya Kerala Peeravi ashamsakal.
Hello everyone, I am Jennifer Kumar. I am from Rochester New York, near to Niagara Falls. I know a little Malayalam. I do not speak good Malayalam. I really like Kerala. Everyone is friendly and I love Kerala meals. I especially like inji puli, sambaram, and pullisherri. Kerala Piravi Greetings to all!!
Author of this post, Jennifer Kumar was an expat living Kerala, India until 2017. She currently lives in Utah, USA. She provides leadership and cross-cultural business acumen training for professionals working in the software industry in India. Contact her here.
Kerala in India Map: wikimedia.org
Ladies Dancing, Jennifer under tree, Vishukkani, lighting lamp, elephant: Krishna Kumar
Meen pollichattu: Rini Raj of Mayooram School of Dance, Rochester, NY
Hornbill, Kerala emblem, fish: Wikipedia
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