The Onam festival of Kerala is celebrated with great enthusiasm. The 10 day Onam festival starts from Atham (first day) and lasts till Thiru Onam (tenth day).
During this festival, people of Kerala perform different cultural activities including traditional dances like Kummatti Kali, Thumbi Thullal, Kaikotti kali, Kathakali, Pulikali.
Details about these traditional Kerala Dance forms in mentioned below.
Kummattikali or Kummatti Kali, popularly known as the “Mask dance” is the famous traditional dance form of Kerala.
The costumes of the Kummattikali performers are very interesting. They wear masks which represent Krishna, Narada, Kiratha, Darika or hunters faces.
During the festival of Onam, Kummattikali performers move from house to house collecting small gifts and entertaining people.
Kummatti dances are more commonly seen in the Thrissur district of Kerala during Onam.
Thumbi Thullal is a folk dance performed by women of Kerala during the ten day Onam festival.
In thumbi thullal, usually six to seven women take part wearing their traditional Sarees and Jewellary. The dance form in performed in groups and formations of circle, wherein the lead singer who sits in middle of the circle initiates a couplet every time that is followed by the rest, who also clap their hands.
As seen in the photo, the lead singer holds a bunch of thumba flowers which were so common all over rural Kerala long ago.
In earlier times this art form was very important event of Onam but nowadays events like this are disappearing fast .
Popularly known as Thiruvathirakali, Kaikotti kali is a ceremonial dance which is performed during Onam.
It is a very elegant dance form which is full of poise and grace.
Basically a group women dance, sometimes men also participate in it.
The dance is dominantly performed in a circular formation where in women move in a circle in clockwise direction and at times in anticlockwise direction, bending sideways with their every step, and their arms come together in beautiful gestures, in order to clap; upwards, downwards and even at the either side.
While performing this dance form, all the participants wear the typical Kerala clothing with mundu and neriyathu and adore themselves with jasmine garlands.
While dancing, women also sing Onam songs in chorus.
Originated in 17th century, Kathakali is a highly stylized classical Indian dance-drama noted for the attractive make-up of characters, elaborate costumes, detailed gestures and well-defined body movements presented in tune with the anchor playback music and complementary percussion.
As the name indicated, Kathakali is a beautiful amalgamation of dance and drama.
More precisely, Kathakali is a harmonious blend of five forms of art namely, Sahithyam (literature), Sangeetham (music), Chithram (painting), Natyam (acting) and Nritham (dance). Thus it is often termed as “A complete thetre”
Pulikali, also known as Kaduvaakali, is a 200 year old art form which is mainly performed on fourth day of Onam.
The main theme of this dance form is “tiger hunting”, and performers painted like tigers and hunters in bright yellow, red, and black dance to the beats of instruments like Udukku and Thakil.
Best Pulikali performances can be seen in Thrissur district of Kerala.