ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design

58. Machad Festival: a gallery

the head of a bamboo horse from back side
The rainy season marks the end of the Festival Season in Kerala. This year too, even if rain is not as generous as it should be.
This season also was rich and colorful. The festivals are so many, that you have to spend many years in this land to become a professional festival goers. Else you can have a glimpse of them through the eyes of friend who knows Kerala better than you and loves to capture the spirit of the Festival in photos.

That is what we have done in occasion of Machad Festival. Now, courtesy by Manikandan Punnakkal, a young mural artist and tradition lover, we -in our office in Trivandrum- and you can imagine to be in the middle of an over-crowed temple yard, with people, masks, horses, oracles, elephants….where are the elephants? How is possible that we can’t see any, we are near Thrissur where the big Pooram with many pachyderms is held, in the heart of the temple elephant’s land!

We asked Mani: «Machad Mamankan is a 800 years old festival, and very little has changed. The main event is the Kuthira Kali, the dance of the horses. Instead of training elephant, here people of different zones make big horses with bamboo and then spend many hours in decorating them for the final competition. Once all the material used was natural, it’s a pity that today synthetic cloths are common. The kuthiras are less charming, more stereotyped for me but people now like shining colors.
The horse parade happens during the day, under the scorching sun. Young men bring the heavy kuthira on their shoulders from different areas. When they reach the temple premises the dance starts. It’s a great moment for religious faith and social binding ».

Other highlights of Machad Mamankam are the Harijan Vela and, during the nights after the festival, Tholpava Koothu –shadow puppetry.
During Harijan Vela folk people from the lower cast perform a variety of folk arts. Once low caste people (Gandhi called them Harijan, sons of God) were not allowed to enter temples in India, but in Machad they always had the possibility to display their arts and be apprized by all the rest of the community.
«This is a Festival with a Difference» says Manikandan.

The Festival is held every year by the end of February in Wadakanchery; next will be on 17th –better to check the date once the time is approaching.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Credits

Courtesy Manikandan Punnakkal

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