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Dhalo

Dhalo is a dance form performed by kunbis, Bhandari, Naik, Gabit and Gaudi communities. Legend tells us that radha used to sing love songs (dhalos) to Krishna. In the beginning the dhalos referred only to the love of Krishna and Radha. Later people gradually developed the songs and they started to sing praises to other Gods too.

Dhalos are held to pray for divine intercession to extricate any evil, improve relations and have peace in the Village. Annual womens festival it is celebrated as per the Hindu calendar, during the month of Pausha and magha.If it extends from Goa to the Konkan. The performance takes place at the mand, a sacred open space, where the village folk gather to sing, dance or play music as part of ritualistic performance. The ladies dress up as men where the ritual demands.

On the day the dhalos start, either on a Wednesday or a Sunday, the women decorate with rangoli the angod (open space in the house, where the tulass is installed) and also near the temple). Women from the village are present however the windows do not participate in the dhalos.the women offer talli (rice, moog and jaggery), which is then coocked and served to those present.

The leader locally known as Mandkann invokes a salutation to the divinity, the Earth Mother and seeks blessings for the whole village and for the festival rituals. The women sing about the clothes ornaments and looks of Gods. The songs are typical but sometimes there are simple and spontaneous additions. The singing continues till late in the night.

Around midnight the various dances and games start. Stories are narrated and many events are described through the songs and dances. These dances are performed on the first six nights of Dhalo.It is interesting to note that the dances and the songs are traditional and there are no props. Originally the themes of the songs sung during the dhalo were about Krishnas romance the Ramayana and the Mahabharat.However of late Marathi and Hindi songs is included in the repertoire.

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