Thiruvathirakali is a traditional dance form of kerala. It is performed by a group of women on the day of thiruvathira falling in the Malayalam month of Dhanu(December-Januvary). According to legends calendar thiruvathira is the birth star of Lord Shiva . On this day it is believed that Goddess Parvati met Lord Shiva after her long penance and Shiva took her as partner. So women fast on the day before thiruvathira for Lord Shiva’s blessings. Married women pray for marital bliss and young girls to get good partners. The next day they get up early in the morning and visit the temple. The food they have is a traditional dishes prepared from tubes known as thiruvathira puzhukku.The dance usually takes place in the evening.
The dance consists of simple steps and is performed in a circular pattern. The movements are feminine full of lasya.The accompanying songs often illustrate stories of Shiva and Pravathi. The dance takes place around traditional lamp known as nilavilaku. The women are dressed in traditional kerala settu mondu and hair formed into bun with traditional flowers adorning it. The dance form is also known as Kaikottikali as women are clapping their hands while dancing.
The dance was traditionally performed in upper caste families. Now the dance is more popular and is performed in various festive occasions. There competitions in school and college levels. So now women belonging to all castes take part in it. Recently dancing of hundreds of women were organized in open grounds in festive occasions. Women irrespective of age who love to dance take part in these groups and savor the joy of dancing