Tuesday, 8 September 2015

SMELL OF PADDY , FRAGRANCE OF SWEAT

My college buddiz are planning to prepare a padayani group ... Today when they inform me about this , I just remember an article about padayani that I read earlier .. these two are the reason for this blog ...

Paths that smell of paddy stems,Nostalgia which adding fragrance of sweat ....

 Pathanamthitta is known for its ritualistic performing art Padayani. Padayani to Central Travancore is what Theyyam and Thira to North Kerala. The arrival of Kolangal, the possessed performers of the art, accompanied by the mesmerizing beats of percussion instruments like chenda (cylindrical percussion instrument), kaimani (cymbal) and thappu (small drum) with light from torches made out of small bundles of dry coconut leaves and hand lamp are what makes the nights of the villages here bustling and festive during this time of the year. 

Renowned Malayalam poet Kadammanitta Ramakrishnan, hailing from Kadammanitta, a village in Pathanamthitta, has attempted to explore the vivacity of this art form through his poems. His poems had a significant role in popularizing this art form among the people. That's the reason why Padayani is also known as the art form of Kadammanitta populace. 

What makes Padayani a unique festival of the villages is certainly the participation of people from all religions and castes. Legend has it that Padayani was originated to eliminate all kinds of illnesses like chickenpox. So eventually it became a festival of the entire village. 
Padayani Kolams are made by cutting areca leaf sheaths in certain shapes, combine them with midribs of coconut leaves and finally adorn with tender coconut palm leaves and colour papers. The figures of folk deities are drawn on them with natural colours from turmeric, red stones and charcoal.

There are different types of Padayani Kolams such as Kalan Kolam and Bhairavi Kolam. Each Padayani Kolam has different purposes. For example, Marutha Kolam is performed to please the deity so that she protects the villagers from communicable diseases like smallpox. Similarly, Kalari Kolam is performed to get a child of desired sex while Matan Kolam is performed to eliminate diseases caused from the fear of night. Hence Padayani is an amalgamation of different Kolams and music.

The festival of Padayani usually happens in the months of February and March (Khumbham and Meenam months as per Malayalam calendar). The rituals that lasts about 12 days starts with chootuveyppu in which the tail end of dry coconut leaves made into a bundle is lit from the lamp at the temple by the priest and handed over to the ooraazhmakkaran. Following this, there will be percussion performance called 'kaachikkettu' or 'thappamelam' to inform the village about the start of the festival. Then the deity of fire is invoked into a choottu (dried coconut leaves bundled) and the fire is preserved until the performance is over. 
The Padayani performed on the eighth day of Medam is the most important one.