The iconic festival, known for the parade of richly caparisoned jumbos, performance of traditional music ensembles and a sea of cheering people, was to be held at the sprawling Thekkinkadu Maidan in Thrissur city on May 2 this year.
Agriculture Minister and a legislator from the district VS Sunil Kumar told media that the state government and members of the two devaswom boards, which organises the festival, held discussions and consulted with the priests and "unanimously decided" to cancel the Pooram. "After considering the unusual situation of pandemic we are facing, the state government and the devaswom Boards have unanimously decided to cancel the famous Thrissur Pooram (festival) and will conduct only the necessary rituals," the minister said.
The rituals will be conducted inside the Vadakkunnathan Lord Shiva temple with the participation of five people and devotees will not be allowed inside the temple. "All other events related to the Thrissur pooram, including the exhibition, mini-poorams also stands cancelled", he said adding all the religious institutions are supposed to follow the lockdown protocol.
The pooram was earlier cancelled during many instances, including in 1948 when Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated and then during the Chinese war. "Earlier it was also cancelled or held with minimum rituals when there was a difference of opinion over conducting bursting the fireworks and handling of the usual exhibition," minister said. This year''s festival was scheduled to be held on May 3. The Pooram exhibition, which usually begins on April 1 and ends in the last week of May, has already been cancelled.
The two-century-old Thrissur Pooram had its origin in 1798, through a royal edict of the then Raja Rama Varma, popularly known as Shakthan Thampuran, a powerful ruler of the erstwhile princely state of Cochin. The edict entrusted two local temples -- Paramekkavu and Thiruvambady -- as the main sponsors of the festivities to be conducted in a competitive spirit. Besides the main poorams by the two devaswoms, small poorams from nearby temples also participate in the festivities, which ends with the fireworks display.