Tribal Peoples in Kerala

Pulluvan

Pulluvans sing serpent songs with ardent faith in the superior varieties of serpents which are believed to be protectors of the land as its guardians angles. The Pulluvan and his wife, Pulluvati visit village houses on auspicious days like the first of every Malayalam month or the Aslesha (star) day in the month, which is the birthday of the serpent.

They sing a song called 'navarupattu' to cast off the evil eye on the children. While singing, the Pulluvan plays on a small violin like instrument called 'Veenakkunju' (small veena) and the Pulluvati sings along with him providing the rhythm by strumming the kutam (an instrument made by covering a pot with a skin of a calf and fixing a string to it). By pulling the string and plucking with a piece of wood or stone a rhythm with tonal variations is created. They also conduct the ceremony of 'Pampin tullal' to propitiate the serpent gods and get their blessings. The Pullavas are not in a position to eke out a living in the present society and so they now go in search of other jobs.

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