Kerala Folklore
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Kummattikkali, also known as Kummatti, is a traditional folk dance form from the state of Kerala, India. It is performed during the festival of Onam, which is a significant harvest festival celebrated in Kerala. Kummattikkali is an ancient art form that combines dance, music, and storytelling, and it holds cultural and social importance in the region. An overview of Kummattikkali: 1. Costumes: The performers of Kummattikkali wear elaborate and colorful costumes made from plaited grass and painted masks. The masks represent various characters such as demons, animals, gods, and other mythological figures. 2. Masks: The masks used in Kummattikkali are unique and eye-catching. They are crafted by skilled artisans and are an essential part of the dance. The masks are designed with exaggerated facial expressions and bright colors to make them visually striking and vibrant. 3. Dance Performance: During the dance, the performers, known as "Kummattikali artists" or "Kummati," wear these masks and costumes and dance in a rhythmic and synchronized manner. The dance involves lively and energetic movements accompanied by traditional folk music and percussion instruments. 4. Storytelling: Kummattikkali is not just a dance performance; it is also a form of storytelling. The artists enact various stories and episodes from Hindu mythology, folklore, and local legends. They often perform humorous acts and engage with the audience to entertain and spread joy during the festive occasion. 5. Social Significance: Kummattikkali has a social significance as it brings communities together during the festive season. It is performed in groups, and the artists go from house to house, dancing and spreading the festive spirit. The performances are often accompanied by traditional songs and chants that add to the celebratory atmosphere. 6. Onam Festival: Kummattikkali is an integral part of the Onam celebrations in Kerala. Onam is a ten-day festival that marks the homecoming of the mythical King Mahabali. During this period, Kummattikkali troupes visit homes, public spaces, and temples, showcasing their performances and receiving gifts or monetary contributions as a gesture of appreciation. Kummattikkali is a unique and vibrant folk art that exemplifies the rich cultural heritage of Kerala. It has been passed down through generations, and efforts are made to preserve and promote this traditional dance form to ensure that it continues to thrive as part of Kerala's artistic and festive traditions.