Pappanji fabrication work begins

This year’s Pappanji, designed by artist and Kochi Biennale Foundation trustee Bonny Thomas.

This year’s Pappanji, designed by artist and Kochi Biennale Foundation trustee Bonny Thomas.   | Photo Credit: Picasa


The fully-made ‘grandpa’ will be on display at Fort Kochi on December 30

Like last year, this year’s Pappanji – which will be burnt at Cochin Carnival in Fort Kochi at midnight on December 31 to ring in the New Year as is customary – is also designed by writer and artist Bonny Thomas.

Fabrication of iron frames for the 45-ft tall Pappanji has begun at Godson Engineering workshop near the high school in Ponjikkara. Eco-friendly material such as cotton, paper and fabric will be used to cover the dapper old man with a bucket hat, with a flock of birds set to fly off from between his palms raised over his head.

The Pappanji frame will be brought by boat to Fort Kochi with festivities on December 29 for further work at Greenix Village, which has been entrusted by the Carnival organising committee with making the Pappanji. The fully-made Pappanji will be on display at the Parade Ground in Fort Kochi on December 30. “The burning of Pappanji is Kochi’s secular festival,” says Mr. Thomas, who is a trustee of the Kochi Biennale Foundation. “Thousands of people from various religions, castes and regions throng Fort Kochi to burn it,” he adds.

Pappanji burning was a local event celebrated by small friendly gatherings till the 1980s when the Cochin Carnival made it a big event. These days, over a lakh people visit Fort Kochi on December 31 each year to witness it. “Pappanji is a Portuguese word meaning grandpa. It’s the town’s living Portuguese legacy,” he says. While many take him for Santa Clause, he says Pappanji isn’t Santa. “They are different entities and Pappanji is unique to Fort Kochi.”

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 1:28:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/pappanji-fabrication-work-begins/article25847465.ece

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