Kerala » Culture » Kerala Dance Forms » Margamkali Dance

Margamkali Dance

Margamkali is a performing art of the Syriac Christians of Kerala it is an ancient group dance practiced by Saint Thomas Christians. The dance form was practiced by the Saint Thomas Christians before the arrival of Portuguese missionaries in Kerala. The word ‘Margam’ may be roughly translated to mean path, way, religion or creed. Margamkali is said to have developed from Kalaripayattu. It was used as a means to propagate the Christian religion.

Margamkali Kerala

Margamkali (Pic: Wiki , Fotokannan)

Margamkali History

There are various beliefs of its origin It is traced back to Jewish wedding songs and dance from the diaspora. Scholars have found common origin among Malabar Jewish dance and songs and the Saint Thomas Christian dance form of Margam Kali.The process of conversion to Christianity was known as “Margam Koodal” until recently in Kerala.Much of this folk art is woven around the mission of St. Thomas, the Apostle. The original Margam Kali describes the arrival of St. Thomas in Malabar, the miracles he performed, the friendship as well as the hostility of the people among whom he worked, the persecution he suffered, the churches and crosses he put up in various places, etc. These details are incorporated in the various stanzas of the Margam Kali songs. Kerala‚Äôs Margam Kali is an important element in the age-old and hallowed tradition of St Thomas among the Syrian Christians of Malabar Coast.

Margamkali Elements

Margamkali is performed by dancing and singing clapping around a Nilavilakku wearing the traditional white dhoti and blouse .The lamp represents Christ and the performers his disciples. The performance is usually held in two parts (“padham”) and begins with songs and dances narrating the life of St.Thomas, the apostle.Margamkali does not use any instruments other than two small palm size cymbals played by the same person who sings the song. In the early days only men performed Margam Kali. Today women also perform the custom.

Like & Share.

You May Like.


Add Margamkali Dance Feedback, Comments, Reviews


*