Shaking a leg
The vibrant art forms that form part of the cultural repertoire of Onam include Mudiyattom, Pulikali, Kolkali, Thumbithullal, Thaalipeeli, Kaikottikali, Kummi, Kalippavakoothu and so on.
Head swingers / Mudiyaattom
Mudiyaattom, also known as Neeliyaattom, is a tribal dance performed only by women. In this dance, which is quite a spectacle, the dancers let their hair down - literally- and shake their heads to the music in wild abandon.
Tiger dance / Pulikali
Pulikali, also known as Kaduvakali, is a common sight, especially in Thrissur district. Here, the young male performers paint their bodies in the likeness of tigers and stage a vigorous dance to the beats of instruments like udukku and thakil. Pulikali is also performed during Navaratri, another major festival.
Bogey man / Kummatty
The Kummatty dancers, popular in central Kerala, wear brightly painted wooden masks and go from house to house during Onam time singing melodious, devotional songs.
Slick sticks / Kolkali
In Kolkali, the performers move in a circle, striking small sticks. The circle expands and contracts to the beat of the music and the sticks are struck against each other in a mounting tempo.
Here, the dancers, all women, move in a circle while enacting reaping movements with their hands. The dancers take turns leading the singing. The refrain is taken up after the lead singer.