Latest Kerala Local News: Kasargod: Folk art Aati Kalanja lives on the nerves, protecting the ag

Photos: Dayananda Kukkaje

Daijiworld Media Network Kasaragod

Kasaragod, July 25:Aati Kalenja is an ancient traditional folk art of Tulunadu that has been practiced and practiced for centuries.

Aati Kalanja is a form of ritual folk dance that is performed during the month of Aati, also known as Ashadha, which falls during the rainy season just after the farmers finish their work in the agricultural fields. Kalanja is believed to be a spirit who takes care of the welfare of villagers, livestock, crops, etc. The Aati festival is celebrated on the new moon day of the month of Ashadha.

Speaking to daijiworld, Aithappa, the one who gathers the Tembare, said, “Before, during the Aati, the situation was quite difficult as many were suffering from poverty. During the rainy season, no one could leave their homes and so there was no agricultural activity.

Udayakumar is decked out as Aati Kalanja. Chakrapani Swamiji who also spoke on the occasion said that Aati Kalanja folk art has been practiced for ages.

Walter Nandalike, Managing Director of Daijiworld Media Private Limited, said there is a scientific reason for this folklore. This culture has been practiced for ages,” he said.

Aati Kalanja, dressed in traditional make-up and attire, goes door to door performing the traditional dance and blesses families against illnesses. The blessing is seen as a protection for livestock against disease as well as for crops against pests.

Aati Kalanja collects the offerings made by the family, which usually come in the form of rice, coconut, turmeric, charcoal, etc., and leaves for the next house. People find that it acts as a sort of assurance from the spirits that the villagers would be protected from the hostile spread of diseases and pests, which is a natural occurrence during the rainy season.

Aati Kalanja is also believed to demolish spirits that act under the direction of wizards and burden people with miseries.

Normally, people belonging to the “Nalike” community adorn themselves in costumes made of tender coconut leaves that wear colorful clothes and makeup with patterns that include wearing a long cap made from areca nut paste. The Kalanja also carries with it a parasol decorated with leaves and flowers. It dances to the accompaniment of the singing of folk songs by the accompanying members and the beats of a small percussion instrument known as ‘Tembare’.

Aati Kalanja, which was practiced almost in every village in Tulunadu until a few years ago, is now unfortunately living on the edge. You rarely meet Aati Kalanjas these days. Concerted efforts are needed to revive this popular art form based on popular beliefs and folklore closely linked to nature and the environment.

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