Kolattam, derived from Kol( a small stick), and Attam (play) is the name
of a charming Tamil dance practiced by groups of young girls. A festival
connected with this art has both a cultural and a religious significance.
According to legends, once there lived an Asura called Basavasura who
could not be controlled by anybody. Some girls joined together in a group,
went to this Asura and played Kolattam with charming music. The Asura
was so pleased with the divine music and grace of the girls, that he gave
up all his evil designs. This has since been celebrated as Kolatta Jothrai
in a number of places in Tamil Nadu.
the bull, the personification of Shiva is the centre of the Kolattam festival,
commencing every year on the new moon day of the October-November and
ending on the full moon day. Daily, girls take their bath early in the
morning in the holy rivers and they pick up a handful of grass and water
in a small container and return to the place where they have installed
the clay idol of Basava. The girls then offer the grass to lord
Basava, place the water near the bull and worship. While playing Kolattam
the girls visit some houses in the village to play Kolattam in each house.
On the purnima day, scheduled for the immersion of Basava, the girls dressed
in new clothes placing the Basava in a decorated palanquin ultimately
immerse it in a river. In every stage of the festival, each girl has one
stick in each of her hands and the stick in the hand of each girl is struck
against those of the other girls in rotation, producing beautiful music.