Boat races arre yet another splendid unparalleled attraction of God's
Own Country. An event that is as much part of the land's ethos as the elephant
pageant. A sport that signifies the excellent team spirit, integration and amity
of the people of this backwater country. Occasssions of great excitement that is a
reflection of a vibrant people.
The snake boat races of Kerala are magnificent fiestas that brings alive the
tranquil backwaters. Snake boat races are held in connection with Onam, the harvest
festival in August/ September. Scores of long snake boats and other smaller crafts
participate in these events. The largest team sport in the world,
the snake boat races are preceeded by colorful water parades.
Usually a snake boat is manned by four helmsmen, 25 singers and 100-125 oaresmen who
row in unison to the fast rhythm of vanchipattu (song of the boatman). Thousands of
people crowd the shore's to cheer the huge black crafts as they slice
through the waters toa spectacular finish.
The oldest of these events have curious legends
and myths attached to their origin. Myths closely linked to the
rustic people and their beliefs.