Exciting tiger dance paints harvest festival 'Onam'

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Trichur (Kerala) Sep 6 (ANI): Performers dressed as tigers and danced in the traditional Pulikali, or tiger dance, here on Saturday marking the end of the annual harvest festival, "Onam".

The harvest festival of Onam is the season for staging some of the dying traditional folk dances in the tourist hotspot of Kerala.

For 'Pulikalli,' or 'Kaduvakali' as tiger dance is locally known in Malayalam, artists paint themselves like tigers in black, yellow and other colorful stripes and perform the dance with gusto.

Men with big bellies paint their bodies, wear tiger masks and dance to drummers' beats.

People irrespective of caste or creed participate in the event. It is one of the popular public displays during Onam festival in Kerala.

"It is most famous festival of the world, we come from Belgium and we have heard...it's the place to come and to see...incredible color of work...it's all amazing moments," Stephany, a Belgium tourist, said.

Earlier the dancers used to get their faces also painted, but in modern times readymade masks have replaced paintings on face and lot of artwork is added like fixing teeth, tongue and beard.

Historical records says that the dance was first performed by around two centuries ago by the Muslim soldiers of the erstwhile British army stationed in Trichur, on the occasion of Muharram, the first month of the Islam calendar. (ANI)

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