Among the various tribal communities found in different parts of Kerala, Kadar has been acclaimed by almost all the anthropologists of the whole country of Indian subcontinent. As per the recent analysis, near about six hundred Kadar tribes reside in the forest areas of Kerala state including Cochin. These Kadar tribes are also identifies as Kadir and converse in an ancient language which is a blend of both Tamil and Malayalam languages.
The main occupation of these Kadar tribes of Kerala
is food gathering and also leads a life of nomads. Interestingly, this tribal community is regarded as one of the six endangered food gatherers and shares a very good relation with other tribes including Chenchu, Irular, Paliyan etc. Mention of them too has been found in the records of historians. In the year 1947 to 1948, most of these Kadar tribes were found to collect several forest products like cardamom, honey and bamboo for the government contractors in lieu of items like money, rice, industrial goods, jewelries, and toiletries.
These Kadar tribes maintain their originality and culture without adapting the changes over the years. Their food items include honey, roots and fish. These Kadar tribes have adapted the food habits of non veggies. Cycas seeds are often consumed and they do not rear cattle. House making too is unique. These are rectangular shaped made up from bamboo and also roofs are thatched with leaves. All the digging sticks were tipped with iron in the ancient times. However, nowadays iron is used. These Kadar tribes too have got a beautiful tradition of wearing beautiful dresses like bark clothes and hair combs that are made from bamboo.
Following the tradition of most of the tribes of the country, these Kadar tribes regard marriage to be an important institution in the Kadar society. In general, a Kadar groom paid dowry to the bride. However, widow remarriage is not allowed. . Polygamy is prevalent amongst maximum of these Kadar tribes. These Kadar tribes have got orientation towards religion and spiritualism. Goddess Kali
is the supreme deity and hundreds of these Kadar tribes revere her stone image. These Kadar tribes also follow the ritual of burying the dead bodies.