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|Official name||Thrissur Pooram|
|Observed by||Malayalees, Keralites|
|Type||Hindu temple festival/public holidays in the city of Thrissur|
Madathil Varavu (മഠത്തില് വരവ്)
|Date||Pooram Nakshatra in the Malayalam Calendar month of Medam|
|2017 date||May 5|
Thrissur Pooram is an annual Hindu temple festival held in Kerala, India. It is held at the Vadakkunnathan Temple in Thrissur every year on the Pooram (pronounced [puːɾam]) day - the day when the moon rises with the Pooram star in the Malayalam Calendar month of Medam. It is the largest and most famous of all poorams.
Thrissur Pooram was the brainchild of Raja Rama Varma, famously known as Sakthan Thampuran, the Maharaja of Cochin (1790–1805). Before the start of Thrissur Pooram, the largest temple festival in Kerala was the one-day festival held at Aarattupuzha known as Arattupuzha Pooram. Temples in and around the city of Thrissur were regular participants. One day because of incessant rains, they were late for the Arattupuzha Pooram and were denied access to the Pooram procession. Feeling embarrassed by the denial, the temples[clarification needed] went to the Sakthan Thampuran and told their story.
In 1798, he unified the 10 temples situated around Vadakkunnathan Temple and organised the celebration of Thrissur Pooram as a mass festival. He invited temples with their deities to the city of Thrissur to pay obeisance to Lord Vadakkunnathan (Lord Siva), the presiding deity of the Vadakkunnathan Temple.
Sakthan Thampuran ordained the temples into two groups, namely "Paramekkavu side" and "Thiruvambady side". These are headed by the principal participants, Paramekkavu Bagavathi Temple at Thrissur Swaraj Round and Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Temple at Shoranur road. The two temples are hardly 500 metres apart.
The Pooram is centered on the Vadakkunnathan Temple, with all these temples sending their processions to pay obeisance to the Shiva, the presiding deity. The Thampuran is believed to have chalked out the program and the main events of the Thrissur Pooram festival.
The pooram officially begins from the event of flag hoisting (കൊടിയേറ്റം). 
The flag hosting ceremony (Kodiyettam) begins seven days before Thrissur Pooram. All the participating temples of Thrissur Pooram are present for the ceremony, and there is a light fireworks to announce the commencement of the festival.
The first round of pyrotechnics, known as Sample Vedikettu, happens on the fourth day after the flag hoisting of the Pooram. It is a one-hour show presented by Thiruvambady and Paramekkavu Devawsoms. Swaraj Round is venue for this fireworks and starts at 7:15 pm. The display usually has innovative patterns and varieties of fireworks. Even though there were several controversaries permission was granted to conduct Thrissur Pooram in 2017
The golden elephant caparison (Nettipattam), elephant accoutrements (Chamayam), ornamental fan made of peacock feathers (Aalavattom), royal fan (Venchamarom), sacred bells and decorative umbrellas are prepared new by Thiruvambady and Paramekkavu Devawsoms separately. Paramekkavu Devaswom exhibits this at the Agrasala in Thrissur City, and the Thiruvambady Devaswom displays the caparisons at the Church Mission Society High School in Thrissur City on the fourth and fifth day before the Pooram. In 2014 and 2015, it was displayed in Kousthubham Hall at Shornur Road
The pooram starts at the time of Kanimangalam sasthavu ezhunnellippu in the early morning and is followed by the ezhunnellippu of other six temples. One of the major events in Thrissur Pooram is "Madathil varavu", a panchavadhyam melam, participating more than 200 artists, with instruments such as thimila, madhalam, trumpet, cymbal and edakka. At 2:00, inside the vadakkumnathan temple starts the Ilanjithara melam, consisting of drum, trumpets, pipe and cymbal.
The pooram has a good collection of elephants (more than 50) decorated with nettipattam (decorative golden headdress), strikingly crafted Kolam, decorative bells, and ornaments.
At the end of the pooram, after the Ilanjithara melam, both Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi groups enter the temple through the western gate, come out through the southern gate and array themselves face to face in distant places. The two groups in the presence of melam exchange colourful and crafted umbrellas competitively at the top of the elephants, called Kudamattom, which is the eye-catching attraction of the pooram.
Later all poorams conclude at Nilapaduthara near western goupuram of Vadakkunnathan Temple.
The notable feature of the pooram is its secular nature. All other communities actively participate and make their prominent roles in each and every part of the festival. Most of the pandal works are crafted by the Muslim community. The materials for the umbrellas for Kudamattom are offered by the churches and their members. It is a good sign of secularism which is disintegrating nowadays.
Thrissur pooram main fireworks (vedikettu / വെടിക്കെട്ട് ) are well renowned all over the country. This amazing dsiplay of fireworks is held in the heart of Thrissur city, in Thekkinkadu Maidan.
Thiruvambadi and Parmekavu are the main competitors in this event, and a winner is announced on the next day. The main fireworks begin in the early morning of the seventh day. Most pooram enthusiasts stay up all night to get a better view of the fireworks. People come from faraway places to watch this amazing display of pyrotechnics. There are four major firework displays in Thrissur Pooram: the 'sample fireworks' on the day before the Pooram, the colorful sparklers that light up the sky (amittu) by both sides on the Pooram evening after the Southward Descent, the most impressive event that mark the peak of Pooram celebrations in the early morning hours, and the final fireworks the following noon after the goddesses bid farewell to each other that mark the end of the pooram.
The seventh day of the pooram is the last day. It is also known as "Pakal Pooram" (പകല് പൂരം). For the people of Thrissur, the pooram is not only a festival but also a time for hospitality. Upacharam Cholli Piriyal (ഉപചാരം ചൊല്ലി പിരിയല്) (farewell ceremony) is the last event held at Swaraj Round. Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Temple and Paramekkavu Bagavathi Temple idols were taken from the Swaraj Round to their respective temples to mark the end of the Pooram celebrations. The festival ends with display of fireworks known as Pakal Vedikkettu.
Despite being a Hindu festival, the Thrissur Pooram is attended by different sections of Kerala society. Several replicas of the festival are held in places in Kerala as well as outside the state.
Thrissur Pooram is considered one of the greatest gatherings in Asia. It has an important place in the tourism map of India, as tourists enjoy the beauty and traditions of this pooram. Rail, bus and air connectivity is excellent in Thrissur, which attracts many foreign tourists to the gala. It is considered as meeting of Devas (ദേവ സംഗമം).
There have been several accidents in the past, including injuries from explosion, fire, and the hazardous chemicals used in making fireworks. A week before the 2016 pooram, 114 people were killed and more than 350 were injured in a blast and fires resulting from an out-of-control display at a Kollam temple. This sparked heated debates and cast a shadow on the event.
The large two-part firework displays have also caused several allegations against the organizers for violating the regulations regarding sound pollution. On April 13, 2016, the Kerala High Court placed a ban on setting off sound-emitting fireworks after sundown.
Another topic of concern is the use of elephants. Due to the competitive nature of the festival between Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi temples, as well as the presence of cheru poorams, elephants are used continuously as well as in large numbers. This has caused elephants to collapse as well as to run amok. This has caused concern among animal activists as well as the common people. Though the government has issued several guidelines regarding the parading of elephants in the festivals, there are several allegations of them being not observed strictly. In 2015, Pamela Anderson ignited a wide debate as she wrote to Oommen Chandy, the then Chief Minister of Kerala, requesting to use faux elephants for Pooram. She also suggested that the cost would be borne by her, if the State decided in her favour. The Chief Minister rejected her appeal as he said cruelty to animals is entirely different from utilizing elephants for festivals and processions. The pooram of 2015 was celebrated in spite of controversies.
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