Backwaters host many special events during August to September. The electrifying races by carved wooden boats set the backwaters on fire. Boat races are held in connection with Onam, the harvest festival in August/September. Scores of long snake boats and other smaller crafts participate in these events. The largest team sport in the world, the snake boat races are preceded by colourful water parades. Usually a snake boat is manned by four helmsmen, 25 singers and 100 - 125 oarsmen who row in unison to the fast rhythm of thevanchipattu (song of the boatman). Thousands of people crowd the water's edge to cheer the huge black crafts as they slice through the waters to a spectacular finish.The oldest of these events have curious legends and myths attached to their origin. Myths closely linked to the rustic people and their beliefs.
A calendar of the snake boat races of Kerala from July to September.