Udupi: Kudubis Preserve Traditional Flavour of Holi with Unique Customs
from Hemanath Padubidri
Daijiworld Media Network - Udupi (SP)
Udupi, Mar 10: People belonging to the 'Kudubi' community, who are originally from Goa, migrated out of that state because of the Portuguese oppression, and came directly to Barkur, an affluent province then, several generations ago. From there, they set out on foot through the forests and hilly terrain, before settling down in Sooral near Kokkarne.
Nagendra Tolar, the then king of Sooral province, gave them permission to settle down at Volabail by earmarking land for them. Even today, around 25 Kudubi families live in places like Volabail, Gundula, Ninjoor Bettu and Padjeddu. Their main vocation has been agriculture.
When in Goa, the Kudubis used to worship Lord Mallikarjuna as their family deity. After coming over here and getting settled down, they became the devotees of Lord Mahalingeshwara of Sooral. The Kudubis actively take part in the festivities and other activities of this temple even now.
The Kudubis have, even after shifting their base to Karnataka from Goa, have continued to celebrate their traditional festival, 'Holi' by preserving their unique customs. During Holi, all the 65 Kudubi families including the children together celebrate the festival within the confines of the ancient traditions. During the week-long Holi celebrations, their children apply leave from their schools and colleges, to be with their families.
Before the Holi festival, the Kudubis start to make advance preparations by collecting items required for the festival like the feathers found in the tails of 'Hatti Mudda', a bird normally found in the forests during the Holi season, pelts of 'Harga' for covering the 'Gumtas,' a kind of percussion instruments played with hands, unique shirts with pleats, coats, shawls with linings, anklets and other things. On the 'Ekadashi' day, they join together in the house of Shanta Naik, their Gurkar. They pray to the Lord there, wear the beautiful costumes, and perform their traditional folk dance, 'Holi Kunita' (Holi dance) on all the five days of the festival, in their respective villages. They visit the houses of families belonging to their community and perform group dances. Sometimes, people of other communities take religous vows to arrange for the 'Holi Kunita' performances of Kudubis in their homes. In such cases, these families invite the Kudubis to perform in their homes.
A day prior to the 'Holi Hunnime (full moon day)', they come together in the premises of the local Sooral palace and perform the Holi dance. They do this to show gratitude to Nagendra Tolar, who had provided them shelter in his province on this day. They then visit Sooral Mahalingeshwar temple and perform the Holi Kunita. On the Holi Hunnime day, they go to the house of their Gurkar, take bath in the tank there, worship the God and end the celebrations pertaining to Holi festival.
During the Holi festival period, the Kudubis stick to the unique customs traditionally handed over to them since generations. During these five days, they do not take bath and consume only vegetarian food. After the Holi festival comes to an end, the families together wander around and hunt for animals. All the Kudubi families follow this practice even now. They pool together the animals hunted by them in the house of their Gurkar, where they are distributed among all the families. They have food after offering it to the God first.
The Kudubis, who depend entirely on agriculture, are ardent fans of Kambala, another folk sport. They go to Kambalas alongwith their families. The Kudubis proudly say, that they spend about Rs 10,000 to 15,000 per head for celebrating Holi, the biggest festival of all, annually. At a time when traditions are being given a go by because of the onset of modern life, these Kudubi families that have kept their customs intact, stand out. They deserve to be emulated.