Padayani is the annual ritualistic festival celebrated in Bhadrakali temples of Central travancore zone with due dedications. It may be regarded as the remains of ancient Dravidian concept of God and the mode of worship, offering Rathi (lust), Raktham (Blood) and Lahari (intoxication). The very spirit of central travancore finds its appearance in Padayani as that of Malabar in Theyyam. All the Sixty Four art forms play vital role in Padayani. Actually it is the combination of music, dance , painting, satire etc. Padayani reflects the ancient socialist society before the Aryanization and Chathruvarnya, the four caste system. So, the whole village take active part in Padayani without any racial discriminations. Each and every Padayani Karappuram (centers or village celebrating Padayani) observe padayani in their own way, in different aspect such as observation of rituals, order of performance and span of Padayani days. Obviously, the difference noticed is huge. According to Hindu mythology, evolution of Padayani is related to the birth of Kali.
Choottu Veypu and Awaking Pishachu
After paraykkezhunnallippu extending over a period of twenty days, Devi returns to the temple. She is received by all Villagers assembled there. Then commences ‘Choottuveypu’. This practice continues to a period of ten days. The very padayani commences then.
Satire in Padayani
After Thavdi dance, comedy items of padayani are staged. It is only in Kurampala padayani that comedy items are given much importance and staged properly as before. Comedy character Velichappadu comes first. After that well informed Paradeshis arrived the stage. On the firstday one ‘Vellapparadeshi (white dress), second day two ‘Chuvanna Paradeshi’ (Red dress), third day all the there together make their appearances from the fourth day on wards four ‘Paradeshis’ each come to the ‘Kalam’. ‘Kuttiparadeshis’ too appear on the stage on some days. Other comedy items of in Kurampala padayani such as ‘Nampoothiriyum Vallyakkaranum’, ‘Sarkkarakkudam’, ‘Anthoni’, ‘Pulavritham, ‘Kuravarkali’, ‘Kunjarikka Maharshi’, Pattarum Kalyaniyum’, make their appearances one after another. After mudiyattam ‘Kolam’ performance begins.
Vellayum kariyum kolam is staged on the first day of Padayani. Kolam is painted directly on the face of the performer. This was the ancient system of kolam making prevailed before the Areca leaf sheath kolam. On the second day ‘Ganapathy’ and Ganapathi Pishachu’ are staged. Despite at other padayani villages, it kurampala each day is set apart for one kolam each. On all padayani days there will be Thavadi, Vallyamelam and comedy items. On the third day Maruthakolam (deity of small pox) performance takes place. Vadimadan and Thoppimadan arrive on the fourth day. Fifth and sixth days are for the performance of pullimadan and chettamadan respectively. On the seventh day Kalayekshikkolam made of 51 Areca leaf sheath makes is performance. Kuthirathullal is on the 8th day of padayani.
Nayattum Padayum
It is on the 11th day. Animals rushing to the cultivated field were once driven away with the help of dog and by lighting flames. Nayattum Padayum (Hunting and army) can be considered as the imitation of this practice. Ayyappa charitham is sung in ‘ Nayattum Padayum’. Pulikkolam, naykkolam, Karadikkolam etc. are associated with this item.
Pooppada , Kaniyar
Pooppada, the practice of eradicating ‘Gandharva Badha’ from virgin girls is on the 12th day. Piniyal holds the Arecanut inflorescence, ‘Maranpattu’ is sung. The whole observation is done in an atmosphere of ‘aarpu’, ‘kurava’ etc. Comedy item, ‘Kaniyan Purappadu’ is also performed along with pooppada. Performance of Kalankolam of kingly status is also on the very same day.
Ambalavum Vilakkum
Temple model is made using banana trunk. Satirically imitates Temple activities like installation idols, hoisting of divine flag, Thanthrik rituals. Target is really the aryanized way of worship.
Thulli Ozhikkal
After finishing the ‘Ambalavum Vilakkum’ Bhairavikkolam performs dances and finally rituals. Kolam is then attracted towards Karinkozhi (black hen) shown in front. Kolam and all other wicked deities (Pishachu) are then directed to Chiramudi. All leave Chiramudi without looking back. As believed by villagers, if one looks back these wicked deities follow him. Every one there turn to their own holdings.