I am going to tell you about three cultures in my village. The first one which I would like to talk about is Bhoothakola.
Bhoothakola is an ancient, traditional folk dance which has been followed for a long time. In this folk dance, we pray to powerful souls of great supreme people who once lived on this Earth. These heavenly souls are called ‘Bhoothas’ who once lived in Tulunadu, which is in the south of Karnataka. There are many stories written on these bhoothas. There are many bhoothas like Panjurli, Kalkuda Kallurti, Guliga, Dhoomavati banthe, Babbu, Babbaraya, Sathyadevate, Koti Chennaiah, Pilli Kola, Mantradevate, Mahakali, Jaarandaaya, Nandigoona, Kodamanithaaya, Kukkinantaaya, Mishandaaya, Korragajja, Pillichandi, Racteshwari, Kshetrapala, Naaga Bhootha, Dharmadevate, Tannimalliga etc. They are also called Tulunada Daivagalu.
Some daivas are called rajan daivas. The first thing they perform is the Naga Puja and other pujas till the afternoon. Then a vegetarian feast is served. In the evening we have Balabandara. In this, the ornaments which will be worn by the kola people are taken from the temples of the daivas to the place where the kola is done. These temples of the daivas are called sthanas. There are no statues for daivas. They only keep the swords, masks and anklets. The anklets weigh 1 kg or 1/2 kg. These are the things that resemble daivas.
The place where the kolas dance is made with coconut leaves. The make up of the kola people is very scary. Their clothes are red in colour most of the time. They wear coconut leaf ornaments in the middle of the dance. At the beginning, they wear the 1/2 or 1 kg anklets. After some time, they wear their coconut leaf ornaments one by one. The God comes into them. They solve people’s problems through the kola people.
A large group of musicians play different types of musical instruments. The kola people eat fire, keep them on or near their body parts, eat a lot of paan, tell long stories, jump on fire, hold the fire and jump etc.
The bhoothakola is danced at night. Sometimes it will continue till the afternoon. When I was four years old, I slept but then I started thinking about what it was. This is how my interest grew. I saw many kolas and started liking it. I am scared of the Guligakola because the Guliga jumps on people. The kolas are very scary to look at. They come near us and bless us. I always like watching kolas. My favourite are Guliga, Jumadi, Panjurli and Babbu.
The next day there is a non vegetarian feast called Thumbila. This is the last ritual of the process of kola.
Written by Milind, STD IV.