Oonjal, the indigenous swing

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Oonjal or swing is a kind of cradle made outside the house during Onam or thiruvathira seasons especially in the village areas. This is a main means of entertainment of the youth – both men and women –during the festival seasons.

The local ‘oonjal’ is made by tying the ends of a long rope to a tree branch and tying a pole at the lower ends of it, where people can sit. One can sit on the pole by clutching the ropes. The momentum for swinging can be achieved either by kicking the ground using the feet or by a supporting push from a second person. The latter is shown in the video.

About the costumes
The man who pushes the swing is in a ‘jubba’. Jubba is a full-sleeved dress adopted from the north India which is worn usually on the formal occasions. It is worn with the mundu, which is the conventional and common outfit of Kerala men. A ‘mundu’ is a long piece of cloth usually cream or white in colour, one end of which is wound around the waist.

The woman wears a half sari, which was an inevitable part of traditional south Indian fashion. These days it is seldom worn by Kerala girls. It comprises of a long skirt and a blouse with the upper covering of a davani (a shawl).

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