HomeArts & CultureThiruvathira; The Most Colourful, Ritualistic and Devotional Art Form of Kerala

Thiruvathira; The Most Colourful, Ritualistic and Devotional Art Form of Kerala

This is a traditional as well as ritual based art form performed by Malayalee girls, especially Keralite women. Thiruvathirakali is a unique dance performed in Kerala on the auspicious day of Thiruvathira, the birthday of Lord Shiva. And this art form is not related to Sivarathri. It is performed by women who seek blessings for eternal marital bliss. It falls in the Malayalam month of Dhanu (December-January). As per Hindu mythology, this dance is what brought Kamadeva (God of Love) back to life when he had been burnt to ashes by Lord Shiva’s fury.

Groups of up to eight or ten women are seen dressed in traditional Kerala attire, dancing in a circle. Another dance form related to Thiruvathira is Kai Kottikali or Kummiyadi. This is clapping form of Thiruvathira.

The graceful movements of the dance are both enchanting and elegant. The white saris called ‘setsari’ with colourful borders along with fresh jasmines adorning their hair make for a wonderful sight.

The songs for the dances are also related to Siva Puranam. In ancient days women performing in the houses to take fasting and they did not sleep. Especially the women gathered in the neighboring houses of newly married couples and perform the Thiruvathira. These rituals are no longer observed in Kerala. Now a day Thiruvathira is practicing by school students for compete in Youth Festivels, as a competitive item in the festival.

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