Wednesday, June 29, 2022
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Aati Festival

Aati festival, a unique regional fiesta of Mangalore is celebrated by the Nalke community during the Aati month of Tulu calendar. Aati month, known as Ashadha in lunar calendar, is considered as the most unfavorable month and it is believed that evil spirits come alive during this month. The Nalke community celebrates this festival as a reverence to Kalanja, a minor spirit who is believed to protect the villagers from the evil spirits during the Aati month.

Aati festival that last almost for a month commence from 17th July and continue till 15th August. The major attraction of the festival is a ritualistic dance known as Aatikalanja, performed to ward off evil forces and black magic. For the dance, the tribal men wear a skirt made of coconut palm and banana leaf; a head gear made of coconut palm resembling a cobra hood; paint their face with bright colour and spot a red tooth brush like mustache, giving him a scary look. Holding an umbrella made of leaves and decorated with flowers, the performer visit each house and dance to the rhythm of a drum known as tembare. They also perform certain rituals to ward off diseases and other misfortunes of the family and in return, the house-holder will give them paddy, rice, coconut, turmeric and charcoal. Nowadays this art form is slowly slipping into oblivion and one can find this practice only the rural areas.

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