Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Goa

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Dhalo

This song-cum-dance is also an all women affair like the 'foogddi'. The language of the song is Konkani with a slight admixture of Marathi. Dhalo are played (khellttat) rather than danced (nachtat). They are played out on the moonlit winter nights in the courtyard of the house. They are slower in tempo, songs prevailing predominantly over the movements. The front yard of the house, where normally the newly harvested corn (paddy) is processed, is dug and paved carefully and later plastered with cow dung almost to a cement like finish. After the rice grains are winnowed, dried and stored, this paved place serves as a venue for all the socio-cultural activities of the village. There is a specific spot close to the door step called a Mandd or station. Here every activity is initiated with a puja and a lamp lit. This spot is considered sacred and represents the spirit of the occasion. The courtyard is later covered with a canopy of woven coconut-tree leaves, supported by a framework of betel-nut-tree poles. This covering over the Mandd is called Mattov in konkani.

Participants start gathering in the courtyard by 9 PM on the moonlit night of the Pausha month, according to the Hindu calendar. As many as 24 women take part in each session of this dance-cum-song affair.

They split up into two parallel rows of 12 each, facing each other and form a close-knit unit by linking themselves with arm-around the back arrangement, singing in unison. They sway, bend, move forward and backwards, singing songs of religious and social importance, unhappy and sad things of old, which are locally composed from memory and revised extempore with addition or change of words and lines here and there to suit the occasion. 

The liveliest fun of a Dhalo session, occurs on the concluding day. The week which can be called women's lib week concludes with a  sense of freedom. Therein women put on, all sorts of dresses of a fancy variety including those of various male roles, those of animals and birds and act out their respective parts and fantasies meticulously and with great dramatic gusto.

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