Thiruvathirakali or Kaikottikali is a popular dance form performed in Kerala. It was initially a ritual dance performed by women, in order to attain marital bliss, on the Thiruvathira day of the Malayalam month of Dhanu (December 19 this year).
Nowadays, the dance form is popular in all seasons, especially during the Onam festival. The synchronized group dance is performed on the stage as well as in competitions. Grace and the power of female energy are the crux of this ancient practice. The lasya or tender movement of the devotees signifies their deep reverence to the Almighty.
As per Hindu mythology, this dance is what brought Kamadeva (God of Love) back to life after he had been burnt to ashes by Lord Shiva's fury.
In this art form, women dance around a lit lamp, Nilavilakku, clapping their hands in what is regarded as a celebration of womanhood. Groups of up to eight or ten women participate in the dance which is known for its grace and femininity.
The graceful movements of the dance are both enchanting and elegant. The off-white saris with zari borders, and the flowers adorning their hair make for a wonderful sight. Women tie their hair in a bun on one side of the head, and adorn it with flowers. When the lead dancer sings one line of a song, others repeat it while going around the lamp.
To view Thiruvathirakali, see the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2syyIMm4xI&t=41s
Topics: Ritual Art Artform