Survey, Mapping and Documentation of Performing Arts Forms of Lakshadweep

Minicoy
Minicoy is very different from the other islands. There the language is Mahal as against Malayalam in the rest of the islands. The populace live in ten
villages, and each village has community space. The people are led by the Moopan and Moopathi, male and female leaders respectively. The
aesthetic sense of the people is reflected in each element of the society in Minicoy.

LAVA is a very popular form which was given up completely for religious reasons in the late 1940s and again in the 1950s. But much later, towards the end of the 20th century, art enthusiasts revived this form from public memory.
Now only a few artists, mainly old men of the Raaverin (toddy tapper) community, perform the Lava form. The brisk, vigorous and rhythmic steps and colourful costume and headgear combine with the traditional drums to make the peculiarity of the Lava dance
unique.

BANDIYA A group of young women dance to the tune of a Lava carrying a Bandiya, which has great relevance in the social set-up of this island. As per traditional custom, the young women carry drinking water in these Bandiyas
to the houses of their bridegrooms and their close relatives. This custom still prevails in Minicoy.

THAARA  is a ritual dance associated with the religious festival called Mureedu. The themes of the songs associated with this dance are mostly religious, and consist of profuse praise of the prophets and their followers. Each dancer holds a Thaara (Duff) in the left hand and beats it with the right hand. The dance in the beginning consists of very slow movements and ends with excellent synchronization of beats and the bodily movements of the artists.

ASHRIMATHI BERU   resembles the Dollipattu of the other islands. It is performed to the accompaniment of a Beru (drum) and the drummers sit on a platform. The preparation for the event which is followed by a feast takes almost the whole night before the event. Ten to twelve artists sit together and beat the drums with their hands followed by local songs called Thaevaru.

JIHADONI  Boat races are very popular in the Minicoy island where a number of villages have their own race boats.
These boats are rowing boats with thirty-two boatmen. The boats are beautifully painted and tastefully decorated before they are taken out for the race.