Pulikali

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Pulikali, also known as Kaduvakali, is a colorful folk art form and traditional festival celebrated in the state of Kerala, India. The word “Pulikali” translates to “play of the tiger” in Malayalam, the language of Kerala.

Pulikali involves performers painted and dressed as tigers, leopards, and hunters, creating a vibrant and lively spectacle. The performers, usually men, apply bright-colored paints and wear detailed tiger or leopard costumes, complete with masks and accessories. They mimic the movements and behavior of these animals, showcasing a unique form of street theater.

The festival is traditionally held during the harvest festival of Onam, which falls in the Malayalam month of Chingam (August-September). On the fourth day of Onam, the streets of various towns and villages in Kerala come alive with the Pulikali procession.

During the procession, the performers parade through the streets, dancing, prancing, and entertaining the crowd. They showcase their agility and mimic the mannerisms of tigers and leopards, creating an exciting and playful atmosphere. The spectators cheer and enjoy the lively performance, which often includes drumming and traditional music.

Pulikali has a festive and celebratory spirit, with people coming together to witness and participate in this unique art form. It is a visual treat for both locals and tourists who get to experience the vibrant colors, energetic movements, and the cultural heritage of Kerala.

Pulikali is not just a form of entertainment but also holds cultural significance. It is believed to have originated in the Thrissur district of Kerala, where it was performed as a ritualistic art form to celebrate the harvest and invoke prosperity. Over time, it has evolved into a popular public performance during the festive season.

Today, Pulikali has gained recognition and is celebrated in various parts of Kerala. It has become an integral part of the cultural fabric of the state, attracting both participants and spectators from far and wide.

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Kerala, India

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