Sunday, October 31, 2010

"PILI VESHA" TO HALLOWEEN



 Hailing from the coastal city of Mangalore,I have experienced one of the most diverse cultural and traditional traits with a lot of communities living together including Tulu,Kannada,Konkani,Christians,Malayalam.'Navaratri' festival season is filled with a lot of celebrations,and one of the main fascinating events in Mangalore is the "Pili vesha kunita"(tiger attire dance).Tulu community ,especially the "koraga "communities have specially trained dancers performing this interesting act and their dance group would include dancers and drummers playing the "chende" /traditional drum.The dancers paint their entire body with the character they want to portray (like the Tiger,Lion ,Bear ,Tribal man,Clown)and wear a mask suiting the character,and go dancing from door step to door step paying tribute to the goddess and also entertaining the people and earn a few bucks.They would continue dancing on the door step with the loud volume drum beats until the house owners would be  give them their reward.The dancers would range from age 5 to 60  and would dance rhythmically to the tunes of the "chende"and would exhibit their talents displaying all sorts of gymnastics and circus, leaping and bending their bodies in different angles and also showing the aggression and expressions of the Tiger.They would  have this dance form running in their veins and would be blended with their soul wile performing.As a kid, I remember me and my brother waiting for these dancers during the Navratri season and rushing out to the gates hearing the drum beats from a distance ,with a curiosity to see the costume they are dressed in. Some kids would wet their pants seeing them and I even remember my neighbor's daughter being scared by her mother saying"If you do not listen to me ,I will ask the' pili vesha' to come and carry you away".It was fun watching them dance.
      After so many years ,I remembered this dance form ;all credits to "Halloween"season.I could see some sort of similarities between both these forms.Halloween could be called "festival of ghosts".It was believed  many years ago that  the evil spirits would visit the houses on the night of "Halloween"(which is almost at the end of summer and harvest season)and would demand for food ,and the house owners would provide them with food and nuts .If the ghosts were dissatisfied ,then they would end up spying an evil cast at them and playing some sort of mischief.That attributes to the "trick or treat"which the kids practice these days.The kids dress up as tiny ghosts, devils ,witches or some sort of characters which they like ,and go from house to house demanding for a treat /or threaten to play a trick!Some believed that by dressing themselves as ghosts or witches ,they would mimic these evil spirits ,and could escape their tortures;that's where the concept of "disguise"started on Halloween day.The houses are decorated with pumpkins carved with niches which are lit with lamps.It was predicted that this would ward off the evil spirits entering the houses.Some houses are even decorated as "ghost houses/haunted houses"and have ghost/skeleton figures hanging on the patio.It was fun watching my kid participating in the Halloween parade along with all other tiny demons ,witches skeletons,fairies,robots,pilots doctors,and all sorts of characters.Today is "Halloween day"and I am waiting for the fun to night."Happy Halloween"to all those who celebrate.


P.S: HERE IS A VERY GOOD LINK OF THE "TIGER DANCE".
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8wa4L7NZJM


These are the halloween pictures.

13 comments:

dr.antony said...

We have more than enough devils here. Do we need foreign ?

A said...

Good description. :))) But I am not a big fan of H'ween.

Stranger said...

wow...beautiful narration. We too have tiger dance in Kerala. It is during our harvest festival "Onam".

Where I live now, H'ween is time for kids to dress up and get treats...

Happy H'ween to all....

sm said...

well written
like the pic

anupama said...

hey nice observation on the similarity. i miss "Huli vesha" i like the rhythm in which they beat the drum.... i dont know if it is Chende ( doesnt seem like one- Check)

painting the whole body and to remain that way for days together; wandering the streets must be very tiresome..

hey why dont you add a video of Hulivesha from youtube here.. it wld be more interesting?!!

anupama said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YObfZb-GbM&feature=related

hey i found this video

rama said...

Although we are from different countries, some of the festivals are so similar, and brings us fond memories of our own festivals. Thanks for sharing this with all of us.

chitra said...

raji
I liked this post as we have also this Pili vesha known 'Vagan Khelu' during Holi festival. These painted tigers will come home with the accompaniment of Chende and I for sure used to run inside the house.

raji said...

@Dr antony ..hehe devils are devils ..foriegn or indian:)
@"A"even i din't like this "halloween concept" last year ;but this year i found it a little interesting owi
ng to the fun the kids have:)

@"stranger",chitra ,rama,sm ,thanks for your comments.

@ anu: i think it is a "chende" itself which plays a main role in "huli vesha" apart from many other drums which may be included."you tube "suggestion i will try to implement.thanks for that.

R. Ramesh said...

well written as sm rightly said:)

anupama said...

Pk says the percussion used is called "THASE"...see it in the video u posted.. it is not chende

sm said...

Happy Halloween
Happy Diwali

Bikramjit Singh Mann said...

heyy happy hallowween, I got 3 chocolates, a handfull of cadbury sweets and a home cooked cake on sunday ...

so yeah halloween rockssss :) i was on duty so all the more fun he heheehhe

Bikram's