The myriad forms of performing arts comprising grand spectacles of colours, costumes, rhythm and movement and offering wholesome treat to the eyes and ears, are a unique feature of Kerala.
Malabar Mahotsavam is an art and cultural festival that aims to recapture and revive the glory of the tradition and heritage once prevalent in the Malabar regions. The concept stems from the richness of the artistic, literary, cultural and religious traditions of the place which continues to flourish through the genius of the likes of Vaikkom Mohammad Basheer, M.T, Vasudevan Nair, K.T. Mohammed and Thikkodiyan, to name only a few. The event is held at different venues like the beach and the Mananchira grounds in the heart of Kozhikode town, in the month of January every year.
The annual tourism & culture festival features both celebrated as well as amateur performing artistes of different genres such as musicians, dancers, poets, percussionists, actors and literateurs from all over the state congregating on a common platform, for the common cause of art and cultural integration.
The Festival is divided into many sections, namely, Classical Dance, Classical Music, Traditional and Folk arts, Drama, Theatre, Literary fete, Ganamela and so on. This mega fest serves many purposes. Firstly, to give a new lease of life to the traditional art forms like Theyyam, Thira, Kalarippayattu etc and encourage the local artists. Secondly, to give the local population an exposure to the varied art forms of India, both classical and folk, and appreciate the rich cultural heritage that the country is proud of. And thirdly, as a corollary of the first two, to exploit the immense tourism potential of the region which remains grossly untapped. It is also aimed to create an atmosphere of communal harmony, as Malabar is known for the peaceful co-existence of many religious faiths. It is hoped that the Festival will symbolize Unity in Diversity of India through art and culture by the involvement of so many artists and art lovers from all over the country.
Besides the cultural display, agricultural and handloom/handicrafts exhibitions cum sales as well as food stalls offering an assortment of lip smacking cuisine lend variety to the Festival. Colourful festive decorations and bursting fire crackers mark the gaiety of the event. Art enthusiasts, spectators and visitors throng the premises in large numbers to witness the fete, and they return home enlightened on the aspects of folk art and culture, carrying with them wonderful memories of fulfilling entertainment.
The most important feature of this Festival is that it accessible to common man as the entry is free of cost to all. The Festival, which remains one of its kind in Kerala, is organized with the help of sponsorships. Its success has motivated other districts like Ernakulam and Thrissur to organize similar festivals in their capitals.