Season of Kummattis during Onam Season to begin

Onam season begins with mid-August, and cheerful season of boat races and cultural events begins in Chingam (the first month of Malayalam calendar). Kummattis form a part of Onam celebrations, and it is quite popular in Malabar and mid-Kerala, particularly Thrissur, which is also famous of famous Thrissur Pooram and Kaduvakali/Pulikali. While Pulikali is displayed in the streets, Kummattis go from house to house, and they are believed to be the representatives of King Maveli who visit subjects before the arrival of king Maveli on Thiruvonam. Very often they are believed to be the ‘Bhoot Gan’ (associates) of Lord Siva. Kummattis are also indicators of the upcoming Onam season. Kummatti Kali is performed in Palakkad also. Read about the legend behind this traditional mask dance.

A great commitment is associated with natives of Thrissur who celebrate Onam in their own distinct way. It is almost one year preparation for the event. The wooden masks are very expensive and takes months for preparation, and they are not reused. Its costs mount up to 1 lakh rupees, and every year hundreds of Kummatti masks are made for the cultural event in Thrissur itself. Wood of jackfruit tree is mostly used to prepare masks. This colourful mask dance is indeed popular, and the performers use ‘Kummatti’ grass to cover their body parts. Vishnu, Krishna, Hanuman, Kathakali, Kiratha, Narasimham, Darika and Thalla are the common Kummattis. Their dance themes are mostly derived from epic Ramayana and killing of Darika, and usually depict masks of good characters rather than evil ones. A few fierce masks are also used. 

Thalla, also called Thamma is the head of the group. She leads the group with a stick in her hand, and is also the main entertainer who wears brinjal ear rings. The group goes from house to house of their residence association to collect rice, money, jaggery and other offerings. The costume, especially the Kummatti pullu (Kummatti grass) make it a distinct art form of Kerala. The grass is plaited to form the skirts. They also wear flower garlands. Kummattis are accompanied by Chenda melam and other skits related to Hindu mythology. Onavillu – the string instrument is the highlight of Kummatti Kali. In Thrissur, Kummatti Kali festival is conducted one day after Thiruvonam, just before Pulikali

A few more clicks of this popular cultural event of Malabar…… 

Also watch the gallery of Kummattikali images 


Go through the gallery to read a few more interesting articles on fun, recreation, myths and traditions associated with Onam season. Here is the page link. Click on the images to read.
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A freelance writer and blogger by profession since October 2011, interested in writing over a wide range of topics. Hope you enjoy my writings. I belong to one of the beautiful places of the world, Kerala, nicknamed as 'God's own country'.

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