Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Kerala


Known as Kalavela, Kalakali and other similar names, Kalakettu is performed coinciding with the Bhagavathy Kavu festivals, a festival of the farming community.There are many rituals throughout Kerala associated with farming and all these rituals reflect man’s admiration and submission to nature and Earth. Kaalavela, associated with temple festivals, is one among such rituals celebrated in Kerala.

Huge idols of bulls made of cloth and hay, decorated exquisitely and adorned with garlands the huge bulls are supported by many on their backs and taken to the grove (Kavu); to the accompaniment of screams of joys and rhythm the bulls are taken out in a procession. Depending upon the location of a performance, the shape and decorations differ.  The decorated bull is taken out in a procession by the people.  This is known as kettukazhcha. The ‘kazhcha’ is taken to functions associated with the temple and neighbouring areas.

The instruments commonely used are Chenda, Ilathalam and Thudi. There are many art forms similar to Kaalavela. Some of these are ‘Maruthachinada’ of central Travancore, ‘Kaalakettu’ of Palakkad and ‘Eruthukali’, ‘Moorikettu’ of north Kerala.

As the event is performed for the property of agriculture it is mainly performed by farm workers.

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