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As the festival of Onam is celebrated for ten days, the natives of Kerala perform various cultural activities including traditional dances like Kaikottikali and Thumbi on traditional music.

Onam Dance

The richness of the folk culture can be believed by witnessing the best of Kerala dances during the splendid festival of Onam. The display of such uniquely beautiful dance forms draws numerous dance lovers to Kerala from all over the world. Some of the most admired dances that are performed during Onam are Kathakali, Kaikottikali and Thumbi Thullal. Where the performance of Kathakali dancers mesmerizes the audiences, the elegant Kaikottikali artists hold the capability to leave the viewers completely fascinated. Be it any dance form, its beauty compels the audiences to ask for more, just because the mingling of grace and simplicity are the specialities of Kerala dances. Other charming dances that are performed during the festivities of Onam are Kummattikali and Pulikali or Kaduvakali which are colourful as well as hugely entertaining. Pulikali dancers paint themselves as tigers and enact hunting scenes, whereas Kummattikali dancers sport plaited grass and big wooden masks and dance to the rhythm provided by onavillu (a musical instrument). Some of the famous traditional dances performed on Onam are better explained below.

Dances Of Onam Festival

Kummattikali is the famous dance form of Kerala, particularly from South Malabar. It is popularly known as the "Mask Dance" as the performers wear crafted masks made of jack fruit tree, hog plum tree or the coral tree. Dancing and performing to the tunes of onavillu, the artists move from house to house, entertaining people and collecting small gifts. This dance form offers uniqueness every time that amuses people a lot.

Performed by trained artists, the main theme of Pulikali dance form is "tiger hunting". This colourful recreational dance form is depicted by artists in guise of tigers, painting their bodies in yellow, red and black paints. This appearance takes lot of time as the artists apply paint and make-up over night.

The festival of Onam witnesses the unique dance form which encloses drama and stories into it. It is also termed as "a complete theatre". Sahithyam (literature), Sangeetham (music), Chithram (painting), Natyam (acting) and Nritham (dance), constitute the 5 basic elements of Kathakali. This is the dance form that uses gestures and poses to express different emotions. Amongst other places Shoranur, Kovalam and most importantly, Cheruthuruthy, get the honour of hosting Kathakali shows during the festival of Onam.

Thumbi Thullal
Thumbi Thullal is an all women dance and singing event performed during Onam, while men engage themselves in energetic sports. This is share of fun of women where they dress up in the best of their saris and jewellery and perform the dance form in groups.

Kaikottikali or Thiruvathirakali is an extremely popular folk dance performed in groups by the maidens of Kerala on the occasion of Onam and Thiruvathira. Women, both young and old submerge themselves in the spirit of the occasion and elegantly dance with perfect ease. Sometimes men and kids also participate in this graceful dance form. Hussaini, Bhairavi and Kamboji are the popular Ragas played in this dance.