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Kummattikkali in Kerala

Kummattikali, often spelled Kummatti, is a vibrant dance performed while wearing masks. It is a traditional celebration where performers go from house to house singing and dancing while donning masks and adornments made of grass, dry leaves, etc. Kummattikali entertainers go from home to house, collecting small gifts and entertaining people during the Onam holiday. During Onam, Kummatti dances are very common in the Thrissur area.

How is Kummattikkali in Kerala performed?

Each group of dancers comprises about eight to ten members, each wearing a different and unusual Kummatti costume. The most popular character in Kummattikali dance is the 'Thalla,' or witch-the dancer who leads the group in dance, music, and enactment. The 'Thalla' wears a mask of a very old woman, with hair fashioned in an ancient style. Most of the other characters in Kummattikali represent various Hindu gods and goddesses, enacted by children donning spectacular masks.

Songs of Kummattikali in Kerala

The songs sung during the Kummattikali dance are usually based on devotional themes and are accompanied by a bowed instrument named 'Onavillu.' It is a string instrument made by shaping the pitch of the palmyra stem in the form of a bow, with bamboo slivers being used as bowstrings.

How is Kummattikali in Kerala enacted?

As soon as the Kummatti dancers enter the courtyard of a house, the "Thalla" character holds a baton in hand and breaks into song and dance. This ritual dance does not require any special training or setting; in fact, even onlookers can join the performance.

Where is Kummattikali in Kerala famous?

The ancient folk art of Kummattikali is trendy in the Palakkad and Trichur districts of Kerala. In Palakkad, it is performed as a ritualistic ceremony to appease the mother goddess, "Devi." At the same time, in Trichur, the form is entirely secular and used as entertainment during the Onam festival. However, these two districts have specific differences in the performance styles, costumes, and songs in the Kummattikali dances.

What does Kummattikkali in Kerala indicate?

In Ottapalam Taluk of Palakkad District, Kummattikkali indicates the beginning of the Makaram Harvest festival in January.

If you are planning to visit Kummattikali dance in Kerala, then you must check out our Kerala tour packages.


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