The world bid adieu to 2018 and welcomed 2019 with hope, cheer and colourful festivities. It was New Zealand which ringed in the New Year first. Hundreds of people cheered as the giant clock in Auckland struck 12. The Australians too celebrated with New Year parties and count downs. Kerala welcomed 2019 with grand celebrations and parties arranged at different parts of the state.
Burning Pappanji at Kochi
Thousands of people who gathered at the Parade ground welcomed 2019 with songs and dance. At the stroke of the midnight, when the ships docked at the harbour, cheered by blowing their sirens in unison, the countdown to burn the Pappanji too began. Within seconds the huge Pappanji (giant statue of the Santa Claus), placed in front of the David hall was swallowed by fire, burning away the woes of 2018. Those who gathered to witness this moment, including many foreigners, cheered as they ringed in 2019.
The Pappanji was set on fire jointly by Mayor Saumini Jain, collector Muhammad Safirulla, and municipal chair person Shiny Mathew. Many Pappanjis, set up at different parts by of Kochi by various organizations, were burned at midnight. People gathered at all the junctions where Pappanjis were erected, from evening onwards to celebrate and dance.
It was for the 2nd consecutive year that Pappanji was burned at the Parade ground and not at the beach as per the tradition. The decision to shift the venue was taken by the authorities after a good part of the beach was eroded by the sea. The Pappanji, which was built on an iron structure, held a banner in his hand paying tribute to the fisher folk of Kerala.
The carnival rally which marks the end of the Cochin carnival festivities would be conducted in the Veli ground at 3 this evening. The program will be inaugurated by Mayor Saumini Jain. At 6.30 pm, the closing ceremony will be inaugurated at the Parade ground by KJ Maxi MLA. This year, the South Zone Cultural Centre will make its debut in the rally which will be a colourful event showcasing thrilling bands and traditional art forms. Two groups consisting of 15 members each, from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, would join the rally with Karakattam and other traditional dance forms.
Exciting night at Kovalam
Thiruvananthapuram welcomed 2019 on a thrilling note by celebrating with families and friends at the beaches. The tourists too were part of the New Year festivities. They waited for the clock to strike 12 and celebrated with song and dance. The hotels had arranged DJ parties, chenda melam and even performances of the traditional art forms. Both foreigners and natives danced merrily to the rapid beats of the chenda melam. The cheered in excitement as it neared towards the midnight. Finally, when the clock struck 12, the skies of Kovalam were lit up with colourful fireworks. Everyone shouted 'Happy New Year' and a few foreigners were seen embracing each other and even shed tears of joy and hope.