© 2023 Dr. M. Sheppard

Pattini Ceremonies Myths Shrines Community Pattini Community Pattini 2 Family Pattini

Pre-Presentations Dances

This series of dances  led up to the Mangara Pelapaliya Presentations - these Presentations are especially for the entertainment of  Mangara (Mahasona’s superior).  

The dancers had changed as for the Community Pattini Ceremonies, they wore white head cloths except one dancer who wore a crown. The dance commenced with him dancing in front of the toran to the drumbeat. He was then relieved after a few minutes by another dancer  who also performed some twirling, the one with the crown having retired briefly but he soon returned. In the meantime an assistant brought a coal pan of dummala and placed it with a container holding extra dummala in the toran .

The dancer with the crown then picked this up and danced with the coal pan to the drumbeat, smoking the whole area with dummala and adding more as necessary to the coal pan. The drumbeat became faster and he did some twirling, before replacing the coal pan in the toran. Then another dancer  joined in this twisting, twirling dance, then the one with crown picked up a clay pot with a coconut flower whisk from the back of the toran, he danced with it for a few minutes before replacing it in the toran. Another dancer then danced with the coal pan before replacing it in toran.

You Tube Video Links

Part 4 - Dances Preceding the Presentations


The dancer with the crown then picked up the pink shawl dancing with it, waving it around whilst all three of them danced. He replaced it on the chair, and then started a song of explanation whilst they all danced individually in turn.

Next came the juggling dance. The other dancers now held large lighted torches as well. They also threw dummala around the area and then started to juggle with the lighted torches. They kept dropping them so one of them then had an amusing interchange with the drummer asking for instructions on how to juggle.

Then the one with the crown picked up a large lighted torch from beside the toran and threw flaming dummala all around the area.

They started with one then two and then three torches at one point misunderstanding the drummer’s instructions and throwing down the torches. The drummer told them to pick them up which they did - this interchange  much amused the audience.

Then followed some more experimentation juggling the torches. Eventually the two dancers “understood” the drummer’s instructions and performed a juggling display.

These dances took about two hours and at the end of the juggling the dancers bowed to the toran and then retired behind it.