Kasaragod - People and their customs
Welcome to Kasaragod, the land of coconut trees and cultural diversity! This district is located in the northern part of Kerala and has a rich cultural heritage that attracts visitors from around the world.
Kasaragod was known to Arab travelers by the name Harkwilla between the 9th and 14th centuries. It is often referred to as the "Land of Kera," which means the land of coconut, and for good reason. You will find coconut trees everywhere you go in this district, which is one of the largest producers of coconuts in India.
Apart from the lush green coconut groves, Kasaragod is best known for its unique Theyyam ritual dance. Theyyam is performed in front of village shrines and ancestral homes as a form of worship, and there is no stage or curtain. This traditional art form has its roots in the ancient Indian tradition and is performed in honor of God or Daivam.
Goddesses like Raktheshwary, Chamundi, Someshwari, and Kurathi, as well as gods like Vishnumurthy, are propitiated in these household shrines. The Thottam vocal ballad accompanies the Theyyam dance and is a must-see for any visitor to the region.
In addition to Theyyam, Kasaragod is unique for its Linguistic culture called ‘SAPTHABHASHA SANGABHOOMI,’ as seven major languages are spoken here. The primary and recognized administrative languages here are Malayalam, Tulu, Konkini, Beary, and Kannada, which are widely spoken. Marathi, Hindi, and Urdu are also spoken by minorities. This cultural diversity adds to the charm of the district and is a testament to its rich heritage.
Kasargod is also famous for its temples, which number in the dozens. In fact, you might say that it is a "God's own district" due to the large number of temples found here. The district is also rich in folk culture, visual arts, and festivals. Onam, Vishu, Deepavali, Pooram, Makarasankranti, and Ganesh Chaturthi are the major festivals celebrated in the region.
Muslims in the region have adopted several foreign and Kerala visual art forms and made them their own with suitable changes. Popular art forms among the Mappilas include Aravana or Duffmutt, Kolkkali, and Oppana. Oppana is a ritual full of song and dance that is similar to Kaikottikali practiced by women in Kerala. It is often performed on the occasion of adorning the bride.
The district also has other art forms like Thidambu Dance, which is a ritual temple art form performed by Brahmins only in connection with the annual festivals of temples. Poorakkali is an integral part of the Pooram festival celebrated during the month of Meenam (March-April). Pooram is celebrated to praise and please the god of love named Kamadeva. The dance is rhythmically performed around a sacred lamp with elegant steps, and the players clap their hands uniformly to the tune of the song.
In conclusion, Kasaragod is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in experiencing the rich cultural diversity of Kerala. The district is home to many unique art forms, festivals, and traditions that are sure to leave a lasting impression on visitors. Whether you're interested in learning about the local history, witnessing the Theyyam dance, or simply relaxing amidst the coconut groves, Kasaragod has something for everyone.