The parade on New Year’s Day is traditionally the culmination of the ten-day Kochi festival.
I thought I’d see a rather conservative parade, somewhat conventional. Instead, there were some of the most bizarre floats and costumes I’ve ever seen! Keraleans like to dress up.
The buildup started about 3.30pm. The crowds appeared and, by 5.30, was about five layers thick. At one point, there was only a couple of metres between people on opposite sides of the pavement, which was probably inevitable in the absence of barriers to contain people. Despite that, there was no pushing or jostling; just a general sense of excitement and expectation.
Eventually when the floats started arriving, the police moved people back to give enough room for the trucks/floats to pass.
In the parade, there were floats with lots of transgender people, possibly the majority.
Then there were floats that had a message: effects of smoking, what plastics are doing to the environment, childline, and save the whale shark. The whale shark group had this huge inflatable shark on their truck and, at one point, the shark’s fin threatened to bring down all the street bunting! Fortunately, one eagle-eyed man in the crowd spotted it before too much damage was done.
And finally there was the bizarre: green people, depictions of Ancient Rome and Egypt, and a slave ship!
The parade was manic. It got to us an hour late, presumably because downstream of us people had similarly left insufficient space for the floats to pass. Officially the parade was supposed to reach its destination at 6, around sunset. However, some of the floats ended up passing us in darkness about the same time the mosquitoes started appearing!
By the end, after two hours of waiting, and ninety minutes of the parade itself, I was wilting in the heat! I was pleased my guesthouse was five minutes away 😊
I returned and had another good home-cooked dinner and homemade fruity red grape wine. It was apparently nonalcoholic but felt strong!