Feast of Saint Raphael, Ollur
|Feast of Saint Raphael|
Pandal in Ollur Junction made for the annual feast of Saint Raphael
|Dates||23, 24 October|
|Location(s)||Ollur, Thrissur, Kerala|
The Feast of Saint Raphael or Malakhayude Perunnal is an annual festival held in Ollur, near Thrissur, Kerala (India), since 1839. It draws thousands of pilgrims. The Ollur forane church, founded in 1718 and dedicated to St Anthony, also houses a famous Shrine of Raphael the Archangel. This is one of the oldest churches built in 18th-century Kerala. The festival, held on 23 and 24 October of each year, is one of the most important Christian festivals in Kerala. The festival starts with the hoisting of the ceremonial flag on 15 October to mark the beginning of the celebrations in the church compound. It is one of half a dozen Christian festivals listed by Kerala Tourism as among the attractions of the state.
The main attraction of the festival is the Vala (Bangle) procession which is coming from the six zones of Ollur parish on 23 October. These Valas will conclude at the foot of the rock-cross of the church. The processions are very attractive by glittering chariot, muthukkudas (multi coloured silk umbrellas), many types of vadyams and melams and followed by firework displays in the church grounds.
The main part of the festival is the main procession carrying the statues of the four angels, Saint Raphael, Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel, and the Guardian Angel, in the Roopakkoodu (an intricately decorated support or surround). Formerly accompanied by thullal (popularly known as "devil dancing"), this aspect of the festival has in more recent years been suppressed by ecclesiastical order.
The St. Anthony's Forane Church, Ollur, was built by the resident christian families of Ollur under the leadership of Chiramel Chakoru Palu, a resident of Ollur, who got the permission from the Raja of Cochin. The foundation stone of the church was laid by Rev. Marottical Poulose. The church was built in typical Kerala Vaastushilpa architectural style in the period 1883-1893. The Ollur Forane church is one of the best models of Christian architecture in India. The Ollur church is one of the wealthiest in the whole of Kerala.For some pictures of the Ollur Forane church see 
About Saint Raphael
Raphael is the name of an archangel of Christianity who is one of three angels listed by name in the Bible. The Roman Catholic Church assigns the feast of Saint Raphael to 24 October. He stands in the choir of archangels and is one of the seven angels who stand before the Throne of God. His name is known in the Bible where he, in the book of Tobit, is the traveling companion of the Tobias, a young man. The Church calls on him as the angel of love, patron of medical doctors and of travelers.
- A. Sreedhara Menon, Social and Cultural History of Kerala (1979), p. 232.
- José Pereira, Baroque India: The Neo-Roman Religious Architecture of South Asia (2000), pp. 139-140.
- "Ollur Church Fete Begins on 23 October" The Hindu, 10 October 2004.
- Kerala Tourism, accessed 29 Oct. 2009
- Festival webpage
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