Thumbi Thullal is a folk art form which is performed by women of Kerala as a part of Onam celebrations.
This art form was one of the most important events which bring out true spirit of Onam festival long ago. Nowadays events like this are fast disappearing.
In thumbi thullal, usually six to seven women in their traditional attire take part. They sit in form of a circle and lead performer (who’ll be called as Thumbi which means dragon fly in malayalam) sits
in the middle of the circle. She’ll be holding a bunch of thumba flowers which were so common all over rural Kerala long ago.
The lead performer will sing a melodious fast paced song and other performers sitting around her will also join after some time. They clap their hands and sway to the melody as the song progresses.
Gradually the tempo of the song increases and the lead performer will brush the floor as if she’s some possessed person.
When it comes to the end of the song, speed gradually decreases and singing fades away.
Nowadays these events which were common in every neighborhood of Kerala are seen only in exhibition melas and all conducted here and there. Saddest thing is that younger generation is not getting much familiarized with art forms like this at all. I asked a few of my friends about this folk art, they asked me what is that? I had heard its name many times but never got chance to witness it.
The present day youth which includes me also is really unfortunate regarding many things like this. So many realy good things of the old times are lost like this. Will they ever come back to us?