Kochin, ‘a gateway to Kerala’, a foremost trade – port and a premier tourist’s destination displays a cosmopolitan culture. Due to the frequent foreign invasions and colonization, the city culture depicts a heavy influence of Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese, Arab, as well as English style of living. People from all social hierarchies and following various religious faiths reside in this city. The multicultural and secular society of Kochin constitutes Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Konkanis, Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists, and so on. The residents of Kochi are called Kochiites. The Southern Naval Command of Indian navy adds to the cosmopolitan quotient of the city.
Chief languages spoken here include Malayalam, English, Tamil and Hindi. The specialty of Kochin cuisine lies in its abundant use of coconut and variety of seafood recipes. One must taste food items like Pachadi, Kaalan, Thoran, Pulisherry, Puttu, Rice, Bananas, Banana Chips, Coconut, Tapioca Dishes, Appams, Kallappams or Vellayappams, Pootu, Meen Vevichathu and other sea food, Idly, Dosa, MeduVada, Sambar, Theeyal, Injipully, Stew, Aviyal, Kerala Parantha, etc. when at Kochin. Other than the traditional food, hotels in Kochin also provide with the modern fast food and Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Thai cuisines.
Traditional Kerala outfits comprise cream colored sari with golden border and golden jari work for women and lungi for men. The chief traditional festivals celebrated at Kochi include Onam, Vishu and Kochin Carnival. The Vishu festival is celebrated in the month of March or April on the occasion of the first day of Kerala New Year. Medam is the first month of Kerala Calendar. Onam, the most important festival of Keralites is celebrated in the Kerala month named Chingam, which corresponds with late August or early September of English calendar. Onam, the ten days festival of harvest is celebrated with infinite zest and enthusiasm in Kochi. Onam celebration is characterized by the traditional Thiruvathira Kali dance, pookkalam – the flower decorations, Sadya feast and various sports and boating competitions.
Kochin Carnival, celebrated in the last week of December to welcome the upcoming New Year, depicts the influence of colonization on Kochin culture. Kochi also hosts the annual Kochin Flower Show, India International Boat show as well as the India International Aqua show. Kathakali, the traditional classical dance of the Kerala State holds an esteemed position in the canvas of diverse culture of Kochin. Other than that, Kochin is also well off at Cinema, performing arts, theater, literature and sports.
Handicrafts made from coconut shells, cane and bamboo, wood carvings, camel bone carvings, carpets, ethnic jewellery, gems, beads, bangles, spices, hand made soaps, metal ware, coir mats, screw pine mats, Kerala T – shirts, Ladies Salwars and Kurtis, silk saris, traditional Kerala sari, purses, Ayurvedic products, cotton and khadi clothes are some of the things one must take home from Kochin. Developed as a prominent tourists’ destination, Kochi attracts myriads of tourists from every corner of the world each year. The numberless old buildings that present the diverse historical heritage of Kochi interest and amaze the visitors to no extent.