Celebrating on New Year’s Eve

How do people in Kerala celebrate the New Year? Pretty much like other people around the world: house parties, street parties, and gathering en masse in public places. I went to the big public event with a few thousand others. There were people selling food, drink, toys, devil’s horns and masks. On stage, an Indian band knocked out good versions of Western rock songs, such as Bon Jovi’s Sweet Child of Mine.

The audience was a mixture of families (sometimes three generations), couples and (predominately) young men. It was a friendly atmosphere. People seemed good-natured. The evening culminated in a countdown, the burning of a 12m effigy and fireworks. The effigy, called Pappanji (grandfather in Portuguese, apparently) represents time.

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