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Enchanting Kerala

Oppana - The Vivid Wedding Dance!

As if the whole galaxy has come down to make her face shine! As if the whole happiness of the world has found their way to her heart! As if all the beauty of the world got trapped in her smile- There sits the gorgeous bride blushing amidst the lively girls stepping to the tunes of traditional songs! 

You just have witnessed a popular traditional art form prevalent among the Muslim community of Kerala called ‘Oppana’. 

Scores of art forms can be experienced from the God’s own Country and among them, oppana owns a renowned position. This stunningly unique artform reflects the cultural life of Kerala in its most vibrant fashion. 

Being a social entertainment, oppana is performed by 15 females including the musicians during wedding ceremonies to the accompaniment of Mappila Pattu (traditional folk Muslim song). The oppana performances are real treasures for the eyes.   Draped in ceremonial attire and shimmering gold ornaments along with elegant mehandi designs adorning all her hands and feet, the bride sits on a peetam (chair) amid the dancers. 

Besides the clapping and swaying, the song Mappila Pattu stands as the main attraction of the performance. Oppana has two styles of singing – Oppana Chaayal and Oppana Murukkam. Clapping marks all the difference. While in murukkam the singers clap their hands to the beat of the song, in the oppana chaayal clapping is not present. Musical instruments such as Harmonium, Tabla, Ganjira and Elathaalam are used for its performance. 

The word Oppana is derived from the Arabic word Afna. Apart from the wedding scenes, oppana performances can be seen during several religious rituals like Maarkkakalyanam, Vayassariyikkal, and Naalppathukali among the Muslim communities of Malabar. Sometimes not only the women but also the men too present oppana as part of the Nikkah (wedding) ceremony. 

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