Kurichya tribe, the earliest inhabitants found in Kerala is one of prominent tribal community lives in Wayanad hills. Primarily farmers, they are also expert archers and hunters. Historical record says that they played decisive role in the Pazhassi Raja’s revolt. Kurichiya community follows a matrilineal system and lives in joint families. Kurichiyar’s have unique rituals for female initiation ritual called the pandal pattu which is part of thirandu kalyanam (announcing a girl’s menarche), thalikettu kalyanam (marriage).
Kurichiyar mainly celebrates festivals like Uchal – the celebration held during Makara Sankranthi, Puthari – first cooking of newly harvested rice and thiruvonam.
Kurichiyar has their own special deity called Malakari - an aspect of Siva as a hunter. Every year they celebrate the special festival to appease their deity, known as “Thira”. Kumbhapattu is the ritual song sung during the “Thira” festival.
Prior to the festival Kumbtiam Vettal (cutting the vessel) takes place, the headman cutting a bamboo piece full of toddy and is offered to Thira. Kumbapattu begins after the “Thira” consumed all the offering. Sung is regional language, the songs praise and explains the origin of the deity Malakari. Chenda is the main musical instrument used for Kumbapattu.