‘Vedanpaattu’ is a traditional folk art form performed in the Malayalam month of Karkidakam (June/July) in remote parts of Kerala. Known by different names Vedanattom, Vedantheyyam and Karkadothi, the art form performed by the Malayan community is called Vedan, and those performed by the Vannan community, Aadivedan. There are a few changes in dress, instruments and songs in the performance by two communities.
Children act the role of Vedan with simple facial make-up. The eye brows are painted in black and ornaments smiliar to that of Theyyams are worn on the chest and the hand. The ‘uduthukettu’ is red in colour and their head will be adorned with special headgear.
The ‘ottakolam’ , the one who accompanies the performer will visit houses with the background of chenda, thoppi, maddhalam etc. The instrumentalist will render the songs. Walking back and forth according to the rhythm of the songs the Vedan will dance. Graceful movements like swaying to the left and right are a sight to watch.
The legend behind the song is that of Arjuna (one of the five belongs to Pandavas from Mahabharata) receiving Pasupathastram from Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva in the role of Vedan engages in a combat with Arjuna and is explained in detail inn the subsequent portion of the song and towards the end the benefits of this performance are described.
The merits of farming is also theme in the songs. And the performance concludes with Vedan singing about the benefits that can be reaped, keeping at bay the evil spirits. There is special mention about keeping one’s house and surroundings clean during the month of Karkidakam.