(DIKAR) is a form of religious performance
conducted by the islanders to invoke the blessings
of preceptors like Mohiddin Thangal and Raffai Thangal.
The ritual consists of acts like piercing parts
of one's own body - the tongue, the ear, and the
stomach - with knives and sharp-edged steel tools.
Hymns known as Byths or Ratheebs are sung during
There are more than twenty different Byths being
performed. Duff is the key musical instrument used
performance. The followers and protagonists of the
ritual believe that even though injuries are inflicted
on the bodies of the performers by weapons, these
do not cause pain or damage to the body. They believe
that since the ritual is performed by devotees who
have received Ijazath (permission) from their Sheikh
(deity), it will not cause injuries.
Ratheeb and Maulood are performed before undertaking
new ventures like the construction of houses, building
of Odams (sailing crafts), etc.
is a ritual dance
performed with songs called Kattuvili addressed to
the wind. In the earlier days, the only means of transport
between the islands and the mainland were sailing
crafts called Odams which required a steady wind for
sailing. When the sea was completely calm, the Odam
would drift in the ocean current and fail to reach
its destination. On such occasions, the ladies of
the community sing and dance
requesting the wind to blow in the right direction
which would ensure that their beloved reach the shore.
It is in a way a cry for help by the women, which
in course of time became a ritual performance. With
the coming of mechanized boats, however, this ritual
performance has lost its significance.