Cochin Carnival is held in the last week of December every year in Fort Kochi, Kerala. This carnival is held mostly during the last two weeks of December and finally ends on January 1. It is officially inaugurated with hoisting the Carnival flag at the Vasco da Gama Square.
The origin is traced to Portuguese New Year celebrations during the colonial days. The main highlight of the carnival is the massive procession on the New Year’s Day, led by elephants in ornamental trappings. North Indian dances are a part of the procession. It is a combination of different cultures like Portuguese, Gujarati, Punjabi, Malayalee, Kannada, Arab, Dutch, and Anglo Indian culture.
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Many competitions like beach bike race, beach football, wrestling, boxing, cycle race, bullet race, kayaking, swimming and marathon races are held. Art shows, food festivals, colourful rallies and fairs add to the festive spirit of the carnival. The main principles promoted during the festival are Participation, Peace, Progress, Adventure and Environment. The city is decorated with white paper buntings, especially the Kochi Fort. The white colour is dominant in all decorations which symbolizes peace and tranquillity.
Kochi Fort is the center of all the activities that take place at the time of the Cochin Carnival. It is promoted by the district tourism promotion council.