© 2023 Dr. M. Sheppard

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

The Morning Watch

Kapferer calls this series of dances the “Comedy of Demons”. This is because during this series of dances the Sannis - the Disease causing demons - dance in turn,  providing light relief during their comic exchanges with a drummer.

These demons represent the 18 lieutenants of the Demon Army of 4000 of Kola Sannniya. There is a dispute about how ancient this part of a Tovil Dance is as some Tovil Dancers report that it is a more recent innovation. It is however, very spectacular and the Tovil Dancers representing the demons wear masks. Although they represent the 18 lieutenants of the Demon Army usually only 5- 8 dance and the final one wears a mask depicting the 18 demons.

Each of the demons appears in turn, is given their specific offerings by the Patient and in return they promise to release the Patient from their sickness. The common format in the comic interchanges with the drummer is that they complain  about and/or act out the symptom they cause. When they sing they recite their origin myth.

The Morning Watch Dances

The Morning Watch usually lasts about 3 hours. It starts in the early hours but must finish by sunrise as when the sun rises the power of the demons diminishes and they must return to the demon universe.

The following sections give more detail and illustration about the individual demon appearances during the Morning Watch.

Links to my You Tube videos are given in each  of the following sections. These illustrate extracts from these dances, songs and comic interchanges of the Morning Watch.