Type: Descriptive Essays
Sample donated: Leticia Lyons
Last updated: June 27, 2019
Ritualsare mostly related to religion. Every religion contains two important aspectsone ritual and second myth. Ritual is duty related to religion conducted by thebeliever and the thought and concepts of a man related to religion is calledmyth.most of the societies in the world gave importance to myths.
so myths arepopularly take into consideration and hereditarily followed by most of thesocieties in the worldi.Ritual is a precise mode of behaviourexhibited by almost all communities in the world. Through a ritual performancepeople defines and establishes one’s own identity in a society. The termusually refers to actions that are stylized, excluding those actions that arearbitrarily chosen by the performers. A ritual may be performed on specificoccasions and according to the discretion of individuals or communities.
It maybe performed by a single individual, a group, or by an entire community andthey are performed in explicit places, places especially reserved for it(public and private) or before specific people. The purposes of rituals are varied.They might be due to religious obligations or ideals, satisfaction of spiritualor emotional needs of the practitioners, strengthening of social bonds, socialand moral education, demonstration of respect or submission, stating one’saffiliation, obtaining social acceptance or approval for some event or,sometimes, just for the pleasure of the ritual itself. Rituals of various kindsare a feature of almost all known human societies both in the past and present.They include religious rituals, rituals of everyday life, rituals of liferoles, rituals of each profession, and rituals of politics, business andjudicial system. Alongside the personal dimensions ofworship and reverence, rituals can have a more elementary social function inexpressing, fixing and reinforcing the shared values and beliefs of a society.
Rituals can aid in creating a firm sense of group identity. Humans have usedrituals to create social bonds and even to nourish interpersonal relationships.Rituals are repetitive and reinforcethe values and beliefs of the group that perform them. Generally, communitiesare defined by the rituals they share.
In a way ritual itself is a performance.Affiliation with a socio-cultural context is instrumental in shaping individualand group identity. It means performance reinforces identification with asocio-cultural context.
Considering social identities of communities outsidethe context of festivals in their everyday lives may reveal important links indetermining how identities change and to what degree identities within bothcontexts are related. To a certain extent the social roles and ritual roles areconnected. The social identities are autonomous facets for the construction ofperformed religious experience.
The term ‘identity’ is understood as a term that254 Thegeographic location of Kerala in the extreme Southwest protected it fromextraneous influences allowing its many splendoured arts to continue and evolvewith certain insularity. Besides world renowed kathakali, Kerala boast of theoldest form of Sanskrit theatre, kootiyattam;ritual dances where blood sacrifices are still prevalent, masked and tranceperformances where dancers wear head gear more than 5 meters high, most ancientmartial art techniques, kalaripayattu andmany other rituals and art form prevailed. Many numbers of cults and ritualsin ancient Kerala have survived to the present day. The survival of these cults and rituals showthe cultural continuity of the people of the state.
Various forms of worship, rituals dancesceremonies and some of the common observances of the daily life of theKeralites have its root in ancient tribal past5.The various methods of worshipcame into being in the earlier period from the under standing that the natural forcescould be brought under the control of the human beings through the rituals andceremonies. The folk ritual heritage ofKerala’s is as varied and rich as its landscape.’iiThere are two aspects in the tradition ofthe folk rituals of Kerala: rituals andperforming arts. Kerala being a land ofall castes, communities andreligions even from time immemorial, gives us a variety of interesting ritualsiii.
InKerala most of the performing arts related to mothergoddess worship are rituals.Teyyam, Tira, Poorakkali, Kotamuriyattam, Pootanum Tirayum, Kanyarkali,Teeyattu, Padayani, Kalikettu, Kaliyoottu are some of the popular religious rituals of Kerala. They are mostly performed in the shrines orthe temples as part of the annual festival, propitiating the concerneddeities. “From primitive times, dancinghas featured prominently in various forms of ritualistic worship.
The dance is in the folk style and the accentis in effect rather than the fineness of execution.” ivThe Worshipof Mother Goddessis the most significant ritual tradition ofKerala. A great number of the folk formsand rituals have faced extinction over a long run of time. However, the rituals and the various visualforms associated with the ethnic culture are still of great reverence to thesociety.
“And among these rituals, themost important are the ceremonies connected with the ‘Mother Goddess worship’.”v It ispopularly considered that the worship of the Mother Goddess must have come downto the southern parts of India asthe result of migration of Indus people. The complexdeities are worshipped in Kerala and most of them are the Mother goddess. Themother goddess, which was one of the very ancient cults existed in crude formsamong the aboriginal tribes of Kerala and continues even today in the form of gramadevatas in numerous villages. Novillage or settlement of Hindus in Kerala may be seen without its own mothergoddessTheworship of mother goddess in early forms still persist .
It is distinguished bythe fact that they do not depend on Brahmin priest .Each community has adistinct function in cooperation with each other in the celebrations of thedeity. They mingle with each other forgetting untouchability at least for theoccasion. Most excellent examples of this are provided at the non-Brahminisedand most famous shrines of mother goddess in Kerala. Theworship of mother in various forms prevailed in Kerala society .The mostpopular forms of mother goddess worshipped in Kerala is the form of kali orBhadrakali.
She is worshipped in soft and fierce forms. So there is so manyrites and rituals are conducted o pleas her. In this present study deals withone of such performing ritual related to mother goddess Kali. Theobjective of the study is to reveal the relevance of Kaliyuttu, one of the important performing rituals related to themother goddess cult in Kerala. For studying about this unique ritual,analytical, descriptive and investigative methodology is followed.
Forcollecting information about the ritual field study is also conducted.Information about rites is also collected from interviews with the performers.Mostof the performing arts of kerala are directly or indirectly related to, mothergoddess cult. Mutiyettu, patayani,Kummattikali, Bhagavatipattu etc are some of the rituals prevailed inKerala which is related to mother goddess cult. Thus varieties of rituals areperformed through out Kerala from north to south. In north theyyam, Bhagavathipattuthiyattu etc were popular where as in south patayani, kalamezhuthu, kaliyuttuwere popular.Kaliyuttu isthe dramatic presentation of the genesis of Bhadrakali and Darika , therepresentatives of good and evil respectively, their confrontation and laterthe extermination of Darika in devotional terms. Kaliyuttu is a village ritual and manifest the varied aspects ofan agrarian society and economy.
It is a harvest festival which is celebratedafter the crops are harvested. The objective of kaliyuttu is to offering elementary harvest to goddess or thefeeding ceremony of mother goddess. It is the most popular performing ritual ofSouth Travancore.
The performing ritualprevailed in north Kerala and believed to be introduced in Travancore by KingMarthanda Varma. This ritual isperformed with pomp and splendour in two famous temples of Travancore-ShreeSarkara Bhadra kali temple and ShreeBhadrakali temple at Vellayani. Though the rites are performed in two temples,the rites are entirely different. In Sarkara temple mantric rites are followedand the main priests were Brahmins. The goddess is in soft forms and becamefierce form in festive occasion. But in Bhadrakali temple of Vellayani goddessis worshipped in the fierce form of Bhadrakali and tantric rites are followedin the mode of pujas. The priest of this temple were non Brahmins .The ritualsof this temple is unique and for studying about Kaliyuttu ritual, this temple is taken.
The most important festival celebrated in the temple ofVellayani is Kaliyoottu which is celebrated once in three years .Every temple ofKerala has its own Utsauam which forms the fourth important activity of every templevi. Thenumber and size of the festival depend on the fame and wealth of the temple. InVellayani celebrations were conducted with income earned by the temple through devotees.The festival of Kaliyuttu is celebrated in the Malayalam months of Kumbham, Meenarnand Medam.
vii? Kaliyuttu is a harvest festival which is celebrated afterthe crops are harvested. Kali, the Mother Goddess is the deity of farmers. It is evident from the inclusion of agriculturaltradition in the rituals of Kaliyuttu. It is the representation of good and evil respectively their confrontation and extermination of thedemon who is the incarnation of evil -Darika in devotional terms.viii ii M ,v.
vishnunamboothiri,nadodyvinjhaniyam,p.228 ii Durgadas Mukhyopadhyay Lesser known forms of Performing Arts in India;SterlingPublishersPvt Ltd, New Delhi,1978, Ch 2 Thottam, G. Shankar Pillai, P. 5iiiDr.S.K.Nair; The Folk Dances Of Kerala,article in a journal, April 1959, ch 1 P.3ivK.
T.John; The illustrated weekly of India;July 20,1958; P.27.
v Durgadas Mukhyopadhyay Lesser known forms of Performing Arts in India;SterlingPublishersPvt Ltd, New Delhi,1978, Ch 2 Thottam, G. Shankar Pillai, P. 5.viKaliyoottu-Mahotsavam Smaranika, 1996, p. 13.viiObjective of Kaliyoottu is to offering elementary harvestto goddess feeding ceremony of Mother Goddess.viiiIn purunas, Darika is referred as a demon King whocommitted atrocities in three worlds.
So to exterminate Darika, LordSiva created Bhadrakali.