The Folk Ritual ‘Ayyappan Vilakku’

Nov 20, 2015 | Vol. 7, Issue 6
400 Views | 0 Comments

Ayyappan Vilakku is a ritual offering to propitiate the Lord Ayyappan, the deity at Sabarimala temple, who is considered to be an incarnation of Lord Sasthavu.  The 24 hrs long ritual offering includes craftsmanship, oracle's performance, percussion music, folk songs, community procession etc.

Ayyappan Vilakku is a ritual offering to propitiate the Lord Ayyappan, the deity at Sabarimala temple, who is considered to be an incarnation of Lord Sasthavu.  The 24 hrs long ritual offering includes craftsmanship, oracle's performance, percussion music, folk songs, community procession etc.  This is conducted in a common place, temple premise or at homes during the main pilgrimage season of Sabarimala (mid of November to mid of January). This ritual is mainly performed in the districts of Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram and Kozhikode and is usually held on Saturdays or Wednesdays.

The artists are trained professionals. By dawn the artists create miniature temples for the deities Lord Ayyappan, Lord Vavar, the Muslim warrior who became a close friend, Goddess Bhagavathy etc. using the stem of banana plant and tender fronds of the coconut tree. After ceremonial installation of the deities, the main programme is a ritual procession in the late afternoon, along with oracles, Thalappoli (ladies carrying lamp), drum beats and Udukkukotti pattu (folksongs accompanied by small drums called Udukku) etc. In some places Panchavadyam (traditional orchestra with five musical instruments), caparisoned elephants etc will be the added attractions. The ritualistic dance performance by  oracles (velichappadukal) in accordance with the rhythmic drum beats of Chenda and Udukku is the most spectacular show of this event.

By night Ayyappan Pattu begins. Ayyappan Pattu is the Udukkukottipattu, where a group of singers narrate the story of Lord Ayyappan through folksongs. This will continue for two-three hours. After midnight another ritual procession with Thalappoli, is held similar to that in the evening.

After this Thiri uzhichil (anointing the body of the performer with a wick lighted with vegetable oil), Kanalattom, fire walk), Vettum Thadavum (symbolic fight between Ayyappan and Vavar and their reunion) etc are performed. Ayyapan vilakku ends by next day dawn with fireworks.  Some regional changes may be noticed in the rituals depends on the regions the performer hails from.

 

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

Add new comment