Festivals & Folk Arts


         

Festivals are held in all the taluks in connection with various celebrations in the temples, mosques and churches. The Ratholsav(Chariot fest) at Suchindram attracts huge crowd in the month of January. The Kodai festival in the month of March in the Mondaicadu temple in the Kalkulam Taluk gets a large gathering. The Thirukalya Utsavam in the Kumaracoil temple in the Kalkulam taluk in the month of March - April is observed as an important festival. Pongal in January and Deepavali in November are also occasions for festivity and rejoicing among the Hindu Communities. The Malayalis celebrate Onam in August - September with feasts and sports. Muslims in all the taluks observe Muharram and Ramzan. Christmas is an important festival for the Christians. In the St.Xavier's Church at Kottar, as annual festival in the month of December is usually celebrated on a grand scale and attracts Catholics from all over South India.

Some of the folk art forms particular and most common in the district are listed below:         

Bow Song

                  Bow Song (Villu Pattu) is an ancient form of musical, a story-telling art of southern Tamil Nadu. Bow, the age old weapon of warriors paradoxically lends itself to be used as a primary musical instrument for the Villu Pattu artists. There are Udukku , Kudam, Thala - Kattai etc as supplementary instrument in their performances. Udukku mentioned in the ancient Tamil literature as Thudi, is a small drum with a slender middle portion which is held in the left hand and played with the right hand. This may be seen in the pictures and statues of Lord Nataraja, - the cosmic Dancer, adorning his left hand. Sometimes the Villu Pattu team divides itself into two groups, each trying to prove opposite view points of a subject by conducting the programme by exchange of questions and answers. This is called Lavani Pattu. The songs used by the Villu-Pattu artists are mostly traditional folk-songs.

Thiruvathirai Kali

                  Thiruvathirai Kali occupies the pride of place among the folk dances. It resembles Kummi and is played especially during Onam festival. Young girls perform this art form mostly 8 to 10 in number. They perform in circles and sing in chorus.

Kalial

                  Kalial is a folk dance done by group of men or boys in the country side. A group leader sings songs and keeps time with cymbals. The players stand in a circle holding sticks and dance around a lighted lamp repeating the songs sung by the leader. They turn, twist, lean forward and backward and move around singing to the tune. At the beginning the steps are elaborate and at times, they are also very quick. When invited to perform in a function, the players generally begin the dance with an invocation for heavenly aid and conclude the dance with a torch - dance using lighted torches. This folk dance exhibits the artistic life of the country side. 

Kathakali

                  Kathakali is a unique form of dance-drama, which has its origin in Travancore. Kathakali is a relatively recent (fifteenth or sixteenth century) development of earlier dances, which arose out of religious expression through symbolical action. In this art-form, the characters express their ideas not by words, but by significant gestures. The conversations between the characters, as well as the narrative portion of the story, invariably in verse, are recited by the singer to the accompaniment of musical instruments. The gestures by the actors on stage are enactments of the lyrics. The costume and make up of the actor are also important aspects in Kathakali. The headgears are made of light-weight wood and are decorated with pieces of mirror, spangles, and coloured stones. Usually, a Kathakali performance extends from eight to ten hours. With the advent of cinema, the popularity of this art has declined. It is now performed in the temples at Thiruvattar, Thirparappu, Ponmana, Kuzhithurai, Neyyoor and Munchira in district of Kanyakumari twice a year during the time of festivals.

Ottam Thullal

                  Ottam Thullal is a form of story telling. It is a popular form of amusement, staged in the temple premises and Malayalam is the language commonly used. It combines dance, song and acting. The story – teller is aided by two musicians, one, who leads the song and plays on an instrument, and the other, who keeps time by playing the cymbal. The actor wears a simple costume consisting of a skirt, some arm and chest decorations and an elaborate headgear. ‘Ottam Thullal’ is now played in the temples of Thiruvaattar, Thirparappu, Ponmana and Thirunanthikara in the district during the time of festivals.

Karagam Dance

                  Karagam Dance is a kind of dance common in the country side. It is played by both men and women during the time of festivals and marriages.

Kalari

                  Kalari also known as Adimurai in Kanniyakumari district is an ancient martial art, still preserved in the villages of this district and also in Kerala. A tradition believed to have been founded by Parasurama is known Vadakkan Kalari : and another credited to Agasthiar is called as which emphasis is on striking at vital points of the body and not on weapons, even through sword, knife, Urumi (rolling sword), Mankombu (horns of a deer), Kandakkodali, (a kind of axe), mazhu (a kind of axe) etc., are also used.