© 2023 Dr. M. Sheppard

Pattini Ceremonies Myths Shrines Community Pattini Community Pattini 2 Family Pattini

“Bonnet Dance” & Pattini appears

The Tovil dancers  re-appeared in different costumes into which they had changed during the drumming and singing. They wore “bonnets” and had whitened faces.The drummers still standing, ceased singing and changed the beat. The dancers started the dance by all facing the Toran. They held coconut flowers. After a while they each took up torches from the Toran which they held in their left hands. They danced with these for a short time and then placed them in the different shrines to the left and right of the Toran. Then the dance finished and they all respectfully saluted each of the drummers in turn.

They then re-grouped in front of the Toran and to a new beat, commenced a new dance at first directed towards the Toran and then they circulated around the Performance Area as the beat quickened.The Officiant was singing from the texts from time to time during this dance - he was seated on a chair to the left of the Toran, still with the white cloth draped around his neck.(He appeared to have an assistant Officiant seated beside him). The dancers performed very expressive movements, sometimes together and at other times in pairs. Then they all rested on the benches either side of the Toran whilst in turn performing solo dances miming aspects of the Pattini myths.The drummers drummed the beat.

When they had each performed in solo, they then all danced together again - a circular dance - and then following one dancer in a snaking movement. Then they danced again in pairs, then solo or in threes or all together. At one point they performed a dance where the individual dancers would dance provocatively in turn to each of the drummers. This part of the dancing without singing just drumming, lasted for about about 70 minutes. Then they all danced again in a circle singing. One dancer led the singing alternating lines with the other five. This dance lasted a few minutes and was again very provocative.

A further very short dance followed in the same manner, then the drumbeat changed to the “Collecting Rhythm”. The dancers then moved around the audience commencing with the community leaders by the Toran, collecting small denomination notes and coins.They sang as they took the collection. The dancers gave the collection to a drummer for safe keeping. They then performed a final dance sometimes altogether and sometime alone with high stepping movements. directed towards one of the drummers and the “hut”. For this dance the drummers were again seated. At the end of the dance they all bowed to the Toran.

The two men representing the village were seated to the side of the Toran. There were  no acrobatics in this series of dances. The drummers remained  standing to accompany the dancers until the last dance and an Assistant circulated with a jug of water amongst them to lubricate the drums.



You Tube Video Links

Gam Madua Part 4 Bonnet Dance



Gam Madua Part 5 Pattini Appears


There was a new drum rhythm to accompany her progress around the Performance Area displaying her sacred bracelets accompanied by the tinkling from her anklets and hand cymbals.

Pattini  next danced around the Performance Area. She held a new clay pot in the pink shawl, and  dancing slowly around the Performance Area continued to sing alternate lines of the verse with the drummer as “she” progressed taking a further collection from the audience for Pattini. At the end of this collection “she” placed the offerings in the Toran.  This was the end of the dance and she exited from the Performance Area behind the Toran.

Each of the 2 men representing the village were then “blessed” by Pattini on behalf of the community. They presented her with offerings.

The small son of one of the leaders was fascinated by Pattini and attempted to join in “her” dance!

“She” sang alternate verses with the drummer about Pattini’s lives and rebirths.

Sometimes they danced in pairs at other times altogether. The steps and movements were “deliberate and posed”.

The drumbeat changed to a very “stately” rhythm. Then the head Tovil dancer now dressed in a gold overdress with a pink shawl, appeared from the left of the toran and was led slowly around the performance area. Two assistants held a white cloth over “her” head. “She” then danced alone singing more about the history of Pattini. To announce her arrival the conch shell was again blown during her first circuits of the Performance Area under the white cloth. At the end of this first dance, she bowed to the toran and the Assistants lowered the white cloth.

She then knelt before the toran and took up the gold cloth with the bracelets. She started this dance by dancing facing the toran, for part of the dance she was kneeling whilst she danced still facing the toran. Then the drumbeat quickened and she rose up to her feet, circulating rapidly whilst she sang, in front of the toran. There was then a new beat and she continued dancing holding the gold cloth with the bracelets whilst she moved gracefully around the Performance Area, displaying herself and them to the audience. Whilst she moved she shook the cymbals in time to the drumbeats. She and the drummer sang alternately as she progressed around the Performance Area back to the toran.

Again the drumbeat changed. This time she danced mainly near the toran. At the end of the dance she replaced the gold cloth and jewellry in the toran. The next dance was mainly in front of the toran. Again she sang alternate lines with the drummer as she swayed gracefully to and fro. At the end of the dance she bowed towards the community leaders who were standing to the side of the toran. Then to a new drumbeat she performed different steps following the lines of the drummer. At the end of this short dance the two community leaders presented her with money in bulat leaves. An assistant then handed her a bowl into which she added their donations. Then holding the bowl she continued dancing a swaying dance in front of the toran singing alternate lines with the drummer. When the dance finished another community leader donated into her bowl. The leaders then sat down by the toran.

She then unhooked her pink shawl and holding the bowl in this, to a new drumbeat and singing as before, she then waved the ends of this pink shawl over their heads to dispel problems. Then she commenced progressing around the audience who added their donations to the bowl. She waved her scarf over them too,to dispel their problems as she progressed. She continued singing with the drummer as she danced. When she returned to the toran she continued swaying and periodically waving the pink shawl over the community leaders. Then she placed the bowl with donations into the toran before retiring behind it to the left.

You Tube Video Link : Part 4 Bonnet Dance - https://youtu.be/_uldJb19fIw

During the final part of these dances they sang as they danced. As this was just before the appearance of Pattini this was about her approach. They then all turned towards the Toran and bowed respectfully. This series lasted about 90 minutes.

Pattini Appears