Lifestyle

Kerala, the land famed for its spices, is known for welcoming people and cultures from far off lands and co-existing with them in harmony. Prior to India's independence, during the time of the princely states, the people of Kerala showed keen interest in education. Library movements and English medium schools set the tone for drawing more people to undergo formal education. This in turn, contributed to economic and social advancements in the society. Girls never faced any discrimination in education and were equally encouraged like boys.

         

The State once had a thriving agrarian culture and there used to be a time when the whole lifestyle of the people was influenced by agrarian practices, produce and seasons. Families in Kerala were once known for its matriarchal system. There was also a period when families jointly shared spaces and resources. But nowadays, this practice is fast getting replaced by nuclear families, the reasons of which has mostly to do with social and economic conveniences.

           

The traditional dressing of Kerala is marked by dhothi or mundu and shirt for men. Mundu and neryathu with kasavu (golden brocade) worn over a blouse is the traditional wear for women belonging to the Hindu community. Women of Christian faith wear a blouse called chatta and a mundu marked by a fan like folding at the back. And the women belonging to the Muslim community, mostly in the central and northern parts of Kerala usually wear a long purdah. Nowadays sarees, salwar-kameez and salwar with churidhar have become quite popular dress options for women. Modern trends in dressing is also fastly catching up with people of all age groups and gender in Kerala.

           

When it comes to food habits, members of the Hindu community, on special occasions like birthdays and marriages prepare traditional vegetarian feast called sadhya, which is served on plantain. For the Muslim community, it is Malabar biriyani that is served during festival and special occasions, while those following the Christian faith celebrate their auspicious and special occasions with dishes like appam, chicken and beef dishes, wine and cakes. On normal days, Keralites have idli, appam and puttu for breakfast which is made from rice. And for lunch they prefer to have rice, fish and vegetarian side-dishes like aviyal, thoran, sambar and puliseri which is also quite popular.

           

Celebrations in Kerala is marked by festivals and fairs. Its people, predominantly belonging to the Hindu, Christian and Muslims faiths, have co-existed through brotherhood and progressive thoughts. Being the case, festivals in Kerala are occasions for coming together of different religious faiths. Some of the age-old rituals and traditions of Kerala involve the presence and combined efforts of people from different religious faiths.   

          

Kerala is one of India's most progressive States in terms of social welfare and quality of life. It has one of India's highest literacy rates, highest life expectancy and lowest child mortality rates. The literacy rate of women is one of the highest in Asia. Over the years, the people of Kerala have migrated to different parts of the world in search of jobs, study purposes and they even have settled down in foreign lands with their families.

           

Enjoying a unique cosmopolitan view point, the people of Kerala, at all levels of society, have greater access to services and opportunities as well as a greater say in their governance.