Kadammanitta Padayani Festival is an annual festival in Kerala which is held for 10 days. It is celebrated during the Malayalam month of Medam and starts from the Kerala new year. Kadammanitta Padayani Festival is a religious festival for the Malayalees which has now also gained popularity among the tourists for its beautiful theatrical processions called kolam.
Kerala, which is hailed as 'God's own country', has its fair share of festivals mixed with dance, music, rituals, masked performances and mirth. One among this is the Kadammanitta Padayani Festival. It is celebrated in the Kadammanitta Devi Temple which is around six kilometres from the town of Pathanamthitta. The festival is dedicated to the goddess Bhadrakali, a local deity.
The Kadammanitta Padayani Festival begins with chootu vaipu or 'lighting a fire'. The fire is brought from a lamp inside the temple. In the following days, the celebrations of the Kadammanitta Padayani Festival is carried out with kolams or the procession which begins with kolam of Ganapthi. It is followed by Marutha, Kalan, Kuthira, Madan, Pakshi, Yakshi, and Bhairavi. A comic interlude also takes place known as Paradeshi.
The Kadammanitta Padayani Festival has also some unique traditions. These are mounting a Palmyra tree and later, pushing it down after some rituals on the sixth day of Kadammanitta Padayani Festival. The ceremonial dance which is ritual unique to the former kingdom of Travancore called Padayani is also performed. The story of the dance is based on goddess Bhadrakali's triumph over Daarikan who was an evil mythological character.
Kadammanitta Padayani 2020 starts on April 14 and ends on April 20. However, the celebrations have been deferred due to the Coronavirus pandemic. According to reports, temple authorities have unanimously taken this decision. This is the first time Kadammanitta Padayani festival has been cancelled since it began three centuries earlier.