© 2023 Dr. M. Sheppard

Dances Evening Watch Midnight Watch Morning Watch Patient Dancing Fire Dance Finale

Final Dances : Fire Dance

By now it is sun rise and Audience are departing. The Tovil Dancers begin to drum and sing and now one of the Dancers performs a very spectacular Double Torch Dance (Dekone Vilakkuva - Fire Dance). For this he wears a  mask which has a lighted torch at each end – this part of the mask is held in his mouth. First he dances around the Performance Area and then rushes into the house throwing flaming dummala around to chase out  and cleanse any remaining demonic troubles. Then he rushes out of the yard down the road pursued by men and boys. This is to carry away with him and banish the troubles caused by demons from the house, and to leave them at a crossroads.

(Wirz (p 56-8) describes something similar to this but this was performed during the Midnight Watch Dances. The three occasions I observed its performance was at the end of the ceremony just before and after dawn.)

Coming out of the house where he has “thrown” flaming dummala, before rushing out of the yard to throw all the torches down at a crossroads.

Throwing flaming dummala around to disperse residual demons.

The Dancer also holds two lighted torches  in his hands for this dance.

Dancing all around the Performance Area and the Patient before entering the house.

Video of Fire Dance on You Tube at: