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Importance of Onam Kodi & traditional dances for Onam festival 2011
Onam is the state festival of Kerala. It is also considered as the harvest festival of Kerala. In the olden days when King Mahabali ruled over Kerala, there was peace & prosperity everywhere. Onam festival signifies the arrival of King Mahabali during Thiruvonam day to visit his people. There are lots of traditions associated with Onam. Some of the important examples are Onam dances, Vallam kali, Onam pookkalam, onam kodi etc. The famous traditional dances associated with Onam festival are kathakali, thumbi thullal, tiger dance, kummattikali, thiruvathirakali etc. I know all people are having a curiosity to know the details regarding importance of Onam Kodi & traditional dances of Kerala.
Importance of Onam KodiOnam is the national festival of Kerala. Malayalees are familiar with the name Onam kodi that is associated with Onam festival. Onam Kodi is the gift given to the members of the family by the eldest member of the family during Onam festival. Children as well as adults are in a curiosity to have Onam Kodi during the Onam occasions. This Onam Kodi is usually worn on the main day of the Onam festival, which is considered as the Thiruvonam. On the Thiruvonam day every people wear their Onam Kodies & visit the temples for special prayers. So in simple terms remember that Onam Kodi is considered as an unavoidable part of our Onam celebrations. Usually women wear off-white sarees made of cotton but men wear off-white lungis. I think most people are familiar with the dress code of South Indian men. In the case of men, the off-white lungis cover the bottom half of the body while utthariyeem takes care of the upper half of their body. Among the different gifts presented during Onam season, Onam Kodi plays an important role. Anything related to Onam will have an importance. Most people may be thinking about the importance of Onan Kodi. During festivals every person wears new clothes as part of the celebrations. But remember that Onam Kodi is having an important part for the Onam celebrations. When King Mahabali ruled Kerala, it was considered as the golden age of our state. Everywhere there was prosperity. Every people celebrate this Onam irrespective of caste & religion. In general we can say that if you wear Onam kodi on the Thiruvonam day it will definitely remove the negative thoughts from your mind. Also note that Onam Kodi is a significant tradition that fulfills ones humanity above any other values. During Onam festival, you can see Kerala women in set sarees, men in white dhoti with kasavu border & young girls in long skirts & blouses. I hope most people are familiar with the name set sarees. Set sarees are white saris having the borders in golden thread ie kasavu. Some of the famous showrooms where you can buy Onam Kodi include Seematti, Pulimoottil Silk House, Aiyyappas, Parthas, Kasavukada, Kalyan Silks, Emmanuval Silks, Karikkineth etc.
ThiruvathirakaliThiruvathirakali is an important traditional dance form associated with Onam festival of Kerala state in India. It should be noted that Thiruvathirakali is also known as Kaikottikali. This is a group dance performed by the women of Kerala. Another important fact regarding Thiruvathirakali is that it is an unavoidable traditional art form related to Onam & also the Thiruvathira day of Dhanu month. The importance of Thiruvathirakali is that it is performed by women inorder to attain everlasting marital bliss. I hope most people are familiar with the fact that nowadays this traditional art form is an important stage item performed during the youth festivals. During Onam festival, Thiruvathirakali is performed around Onam Pookkalam. Usually a ceremonial lamp or nilavilakku is placed at the centre. Also note that this traditional art form is performed in a circular pattern, mostly accompanied by the clapping of hands according to the tune of Thiruvathirapattu. The costumes include traditional set sarees, jasmine flowers & few gold items. Since this art form is associated with Onam festival ie the harvest festival of Kerala, tourists from different parts of the world are attracted to our country.
KummattikaliKummattikali is an important art form of Kerala related with Onam festival. Popularly Kummattikali is known as the mask dance of Kerala. In our God's own country you can see this traditional art form in Thirssur & Palghat districts on the Thiruvonam day. The important feature of Kummattikali is that it is considered as a devotional art form as it is used to please a particular God or Goddesses. The costumes used by the Kummattikali players are having major role in this art form. Some traditional dances are performed by men while others by women only. So remember that Kummattikali is a devotional art form that is performed by men only. Grass as well as leaves is used by the performers of Kummattikali to cover their body. The wooden masks used by those performers include several characters of Hindu mythology. These masks are made up of certain materials like jack fruit tree, saprophyte, Alstonia scholaris etc. If you look at those pictures you may be able to understand an important fact that most performers look like a person who has an open mouth without any teeth. Actually this style is achieved by attaching a talla on the outside of the mask. Another important fact regarding Kummattikali is that in the past only people from Nair community was allowed to perform this traditional art form. But now things have changed. Onavillu is the type of bow like musical instrument used in Kummattikali. So the performers play according to the tune of this instrument. During Onam festival, the Kummattikali performers move from house to house & collect several gift items that include cash, rice, jaggery etc. Training is not required for performing this art form. Since this art form is performed only in some parts of the state, we are not able to see this all over Kerala.
Tiger DanceAn important traditional dance form that is popular among the people of Kerala is known as the Tiger Dance. Interestingly we can say that this dance form is also known as the Pulikali or Kaduvakali respectively. We Malayalees are more familiar with certain terms like Pulikali or Kaduvakali. Thrissur as well as Palghat districts located in Kerala state of India are famous for Pulikali that is performed during the naalam Onam. The performers who play this art form paint their whole body with yellow, black & red colors to resemble that of puli. They also cover their faces with masks of tigers. According to the beats of chenda, thakil, udukku (traditional musical instruments), Pulikali or Kaduvakali is performed on the streets. Training is required for performing tiger dance. Extreme patience is required for the persons those who perform this art. Painting the whole body is a difficult task. But nowadays readymade masks, beard, teeth & tongue are available.
Thumbi ThullalWhen compared to other art forms, Thumbi Thullal is an important art form that is performed by Kerala women. This is usually seen during the Onam festival of Kerala. The women participating in this art form sit in the form of a circle. The leader (called as thumbi or dragon fly) holding a bunch of thumba flowers will be sitting in the centre of the circle. In this art form the leader sings the song & the women surrounding her follow the tune. The spirits of the women who participated in this art form are very much understood from their performances. During the initial time, the tempo of the song gradually increases & atlast it slowly comes to an end. Nowadays this art form is performed very rarely & it is considered to be disappearing from Kerala history.
KathakaliKathakali is an important art form of Kerala. Among the different art forms of Kerala, Kathakali has an important place. It should be noted that Kathakali is said to have been originated from Krishnanattam, an important art form of Kerala. The present form of Kathakali was made by Mahakavi Vallathol Narayana Menon, founder of Kerala Kala Mandalam. Actually Kathakali is a form of dance drama that is believed to be originated in Kerala. The literal meaning of Kathakali is story play. The themes associated with this art form are religious in nature & they are mainly related to Ramayana, Mahabarat, Puranas etc. We all are familiar with another fact that this art form usually starts at dusk & it will go continuously throughout the night. In the past only men were allowed to perform this Kathakali & the female characters were portrayed by men who dressed in the costumes of women. But now things have changed & women started performing the art of Kathakali.
Some of the musical instruments used in Kathakali are shuddha madalam, idakka, thalam, chenda etc. if you have noticed this art form, you may be familiar with the mudras (hand gestures) used in it. Remember that mudras are important part of Kathakali. The costumes used in this traditional art form are heavy & large. The characters of Kathakali are grouped in 5 major types like kathi, paccha, minukku, kari & taadi (chuvannataadi, karupputaadi, velupputaadi). Different colors like red, black & white are used for make up purposes in Kathakali. Paints are feshly prepared so that extreme care is given in each & every step of its presentation. There are 5 elements in this art form namely the nritham, natyam, nrithyam, vadyam & geetha respectively. Manipravalam, which is a combination of Tamil & Sanskrit, is the song language used for Kathakali. Another interesting fact regarding Kathakali is that it is usually performed in front of the kalivilakku. Some of the famous Kathakali schools in Kerala are Kerala Kalamandalam Cheruthuruthy, Margi Thiruvananthapuram, Unnayi Varier Smaraka Kalanilayam Irinjalakuda, RLV school Thripunithura etc. Performers should be trained well before presenting Kathakali on stages. Faical expressions as well as mudras play an important role in Kathakali.