Arts and Fairs
Oppana is a song and dance ritual. It resembles the Kaikottikkalli practiced by women in Kerala. But it has more resembalnce to the song and dance ritual prevalent in Arabian countries, where women sit and sway their bodies as in a dance performance. It goes far into the night. It is held on the occasion of adorning the brides hand and feet with henna (Mailanchi). Circumcision of boys, first menstruation of girls, ceremonial bath of woman on the 14th day after parturition etc. on the occasion of henna ceremony eight or ten women sit around the bride and sing songs, or stand around her singing, in praise of the bride and dancing. On the night previous to the marriage, in the bridgroom’s house also his friends stand and sing in praise of the bridegroom. As an art it is performed in the stages and students and others irrespective of religion perform this art for competitions and in various functions. There are famous oppana troupes in the District. There is no doubt that it enchants the visitors.
Poorakkali is one of the prominent ritual art forms of northern Kerala, especially in Kasargod and Kannur district. It is staged by a group of artists in the Bhagavathy temple premises and infront of sacred Bhagavathy Kavus (groves) and shrines. This is an integral part of pooram festival celebrated during the month of Meenam (March-April). The festival lasts for 9 days, starting from karthika day to pooram day. Pooram is celeberated to praise and please the god of love named Kamadeva. Though pooram is mainly meant for the women folk and maiden young ladies poorakkali is performed by men folk. It is said that in ancient days poorakkali was performed by women folk. A group leader who is well versed in the art and poorakkali songs leads the other artists in the group, who is known as Panikkar. The song sung by the group leader is repeated by the other artists ,in chorus. This is a dance rhythmically around a sacred lamp with elegant steps. While dancing the players clap their hands uniformly to the tune of the song and according to the Thalam by the group leader. Poorakkali has got 18 different forms. Most often stories from the epic Ramayana constitute the subject matter of the ritual songs.
The ritual dance form warrants intense training and good physical stamina. The forward and backward movements and the abrupt variations in the speed and directions enthrals the spectactors.
Invariably poorakkali is followed by a dual of wits staged to test the intellectual capacity of the rival group leaders. This is known as Marathukali. Where in intrigating questions are put by one leader to the other side who is expected to answer suitably. This splendid ritual art form has become the monopoly of certain castes namely Yadavas or Maniyanis, Thiyyas (Ezhavas) Mukayas, Saliyas, etc. of Hindu religion.
Thidambu dance is a ritual temple art form performed only in North Malabar areas of Kerala. It can also be seen very rarely in some parts of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Thidambu means the replica of an idol in a temple which could be taken out of the sanctum sanctorium for certain rituals connected with the poojas/festivals of the temples. It represents the idol of the presiding deity in the sanctum sanctorium. Thidambu is made by using bamboo pieces like a half circle, which is known as Chattams. These Chattams are adorned with flowers and gold/silver ornaments. The metal idol which represents the presiding deity in the sanctum sanctorium is joined with the Chattam. This is known as Thidambu. Thidambu dance is performed only in connection with the annual festivals of temples, by the Brahmins.