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Parumala Perunnal 2022: History, Significance and Celebrations

Parumala Perunnal is an annual Christian festival commemorating the anniversary of the death of Saint Gregory of Parumala, the first canonized saint of the Malankara Orthodox Church of Kerala. The bishop’s remains are buried in the church.



The glorious festival celebrated in Kerala is one of the most famous festivals held in the evergreen state of India. Parumala Perunnal Kerala is a Kerala life ceasing festival celebrated in Parumala town in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala.

Devotees from all parts of the state flock to the church grounds to celebrate this great day. The festival is characterized by special services and a well-attended, colorful procession. Special prayers are offered in the church on ormaperunnal (memorial day).

incident Parumala Perunnal
date November 2, 2022
Day Wednesday
meaning The day commemorates the anniversary of the death of Saint Gregory of Parumala.
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Parumala Perunnal Story:

St. Gregorios was born on June 15, 1848 to the Pallathetta family of the Chathuruthy house at Mulamthuruthy near Cochin, India. His parents were Mathai Gheevarghese and Mariam Gheevarghese. He was called “Kochaippora” and given the baptismal name “Geevarghese”. Geevarghese had two brothers and two sisters; Kurian, Eli, Mariam and Varkey. Geevarghese was the youngest. Geevarghese’s mother died when he was a young boy and he has been lovingly cared for by his older sister Mariam ever since.

From a young age, Geevarghese had shown an interest in spiritual things. His devotion, humility and above all his ability to sing the traditional Syrian hymns beautifully and perfectly caught the eye of his uncle Malpan Geevarghese. The uncle wanted to raise his nephew to be a priest and his family members, who also knew Geevarghese’s character, agreed to the Malpan’s request.

The village of Parumala is a small stretch of land on the banks of the Pampa River. Before the church was built, the Metropolitan of Malankara, Joseph Mar Dionysius, wanted to build a seminary in the area. In 1885, two acres of land was donated to Mar Dionysius by Arikupurathu Mathen Karnavar. A temporary church has already been built with the land by the Arukupurathu family. Mar Gregorios decided to rebuild the provisional church into a more appropriate and beautiful church.

This church now contains the tomb of the first canonized Christian saint from India, Geevarghese Mar Gregorios of Parumala, who died on November 2, 1902 at the age of 54. In 1947 he was proclaimed a saint of the church by the Catholicos and Metropolitan Baselios of Malankara Geevarghese II. Belief in his sacred qualities led to it becoming a pilgrimage center for Christians and Hindus who sought his intercession.

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Parumala Perunnal meaning:

Parumala Perunnal in the state of Kerala is celebrated in Parumala St. Peter’s & St. Paul’s Orthodox Church, Parumala, Thiruvalla and Pathanamthitta. Parumala Perunnal is a well-known form of local festival that takes place around the time of the summer season. However, it can be seen that the tentative date is from April to May. The Parumala Perunnal, Kerala, which is ritually held mainly on November 2nd, is magnificent. It is considered a real visual treat for the tourists who flock to the spots during the festive season.

The annual Perunnal or festival at Parumala Church in Thiruvalla is held as a compulsory measure to commemorate the death anniversary of Bishop Mar Gregorios Metropolitan, the declared saint of the Malankara Orthodox Church of Kerala. The bishop is buried in the church on this solemn occasion. Special prayers and rituals are performed during the Orma Perunnal Day or memorial festival.

Orma Perunnal is the memorial day and falls on the last day of the celebrations. Special rituals are performed by local people and many special prayers are offered to invoke the blessings of the deity. The second day is the great celebration of Parumala Perunnal. On this day, they usually perform the holy Qurbana, one of the religious prayers that lasts continuously for 3 hours. The last day of the procession begins sharply at 3:00 p.m. each year, where activities such as candle lighting also take place.

The peculiarity of Parumala Perunnal is that throughout the festival everything is based on devotion. Unlike other festivals, no cultural programs are organized for the occasion. Another distinctive feature of the festival is that it not only attracts the Christian community but people of all religions and communities from across the state of Kerala attend the festival and thus it is also a celebration of unity and peace overall which gives more to the celebrations of the state of Kerala Charm.

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Parumala Perunnal celebrations:

This festival is mainly celebrated to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Bishop Mar Gregorios Metropolitan, who was one of the most famous saints of his time. People worshiped him very much and entrusted him with real life advice. Many rituals are observed on the day of Parumala Perunnal, which include people offering their prayers and celebrating with delicious delicacies, which is one of the main highlights of this festival.

There is also a ceremonial procession through the city, attended by devotees from across the state. All prayers and associated rituals are performed here with great enthusiasm. Devotees from all parts of the state attend the festival. Like all other festivals typical of Kerala, the church grounds are teeming with vendors and stalls selling everything from food to paraphernalia to jewellery. In addition, there are cultural performances every evening. Parumala Perunnal Kerala is one such festival that is a real crowd puller in the state.

During the festival, the statue of Parumala Therumeni is carried in a grand public procession that leads from the church to the east side of the church. The return of the procession to the church is an important ritual and, for the local people, important for religious harmony. Many rituals and special prayers are performed during this festival, which attracts devotees from across the state. There is also a flag-raising ceremony held annually during the celebration of this festival.

Most searched FAQs about Parumala Perunnal:

1. When is Parumala Perunnal celebrated?

Parumala Perunnal is celebrated annually on November 2nd in Kerala, India.

2. What does Parumala commemorate Perunnal?

It is an annual festival commemorating the death anniversary of Bishop Mar Gregorios Metropolitan, the first canonized saint of the Malankara Orthodox Church of Kerala.

3. How many people practice Christianity in Kerala?

About 18% of the total population of Kerala practices Christianity.

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