Puthuppally Church Kottayam Kerala India

Puthuppally is a village in the Kottayam district of Kerala, India, which is situated 8 km south of Kottayam city. Kodiyet, Ten days before the feast two arecanut palm flag masts, one each from Puthuppally and Ericadu hamlets are brought to Puthuppally junction and from there they are carried to the church in a ceremonial procession by a large crowd of all hues with traditional orchestral accompaniments. Both the flag masts are erected in front of the church the flags are blessed and hoisted by the priest and hailed by the large crowd present. The next ten days are very hectic. Chendamelam Kathinaveddi at the foot of the flag masts, daily morning Qurbana, Sandhyanamaskaram in the church and in between, other allied programs in the church premise are the salient feature during these days.The paddy fields in front of the church are usually flooded in May. Thousands of wick lamps are lit up and floated in coconut shells in these waters on the evening of May 6th before the processions. It is like a galaxy on water. The feast ends up with display of fire works soon after the procession. The fire work is a grand display of light, sound and colour enjoyed by thousands of devotees. Thousands participate in the main feast on 7th May. After the holy mass, it is customary to provide meals to the devotees. Devotees bring children on this day for their first rice feed at the hands of priests. After Raza in the afternoon Nercha Vilampu is done. As per age old practice devotees bring live fowls as offerings particularly during this feast. Chicken is prepared out of the same and served along with the appam brought as offerings by the devotees. Fire wood for preparation of the above items is offered and collected from Puthuppally and Ericadu hamlets and brought in ceremonial procession to the church exactly in the same way as the flag masts are brought. This is known as Virakideel. The cooking starts in the early hours of the main feast day.