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Pandemic fails to dampen Thrissur's festival spirit, 'tigers' to dance virtually this Onam

Every year, Pulikkali is celebrated on the fifth day of Onam, with local people painted like tigers dancing in groups to the rhythm of percussion beats

Published: 26th August 2020 05:33 PM  |   Last Updated: 26th August 2020 05:33 PM   |  A+A-

Pulikkali (File photo | EPS)

Express News Service

THRISSUR: As Malayalees prepare to celebrate Onam amid a slew of COVID-19 restrictions, a group of Pulikkali performers in Thrissur is all set to carry forward the spirit of the festival.

Every year, Pulikkali is celebrated on the fifth day of Onam, with local people painted like tigers dancing in groups to the rhythm of percussion beats. Introduced by Sakthan Thampuran, Pulikkali has always been a favourite folk art form for many. It takes a lot of preparation and hard work to get the 'tigers' dressed and dancing in step.

Though an actual gathering of Thrissur's 'tigers' will not be possible this year, Ayyanthole Pulikkali Sangham will celebrate Pulikkali through online platforms.

According to Kannan Parambath, secretary of Ayyanthole Pulikkali Sangham, "We already conducted a trial of Pulikkali thrice before taking it live on virtual platforms. It will be a unique experience for all Pulikkali fans across the globe." Considering the limitations, 20 'tigers' will join the live Pulikkali performance set to happen on September 3 from 2 pm to 4 pm.

"We have planned it in such a way that all the performing 'tigers' will appear on one screen accompanied by the 'Melam', even though they will be live from their own houses. Cultural leaders and even media personalities will also join us from their own places giving a real-time experience of Pulikkali," added Kannan.

Generally, a minimum of seven groups take part in the Pulikkali performance that happens in Swaraj Round in Thrissur. Only the Ayyanthole group has announced the virtual Pulikkali this year. In 2017, breaking the stereotype, women painted as tigers also performed in the Pulikkali, taking the folk art form to the next level.



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