(Last Updated on : 20-10-2009)
Kammara tribes are quite significant tribal groups of Kerala. Apart from Kerala, the Kammara scheduled tribes also reside in different sectors of Vizianagaram, East Godavari, Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam and West Godavari districts.
Kammara tribes are also known by the name of Ojas and Konda Kammara. These Kammara speaks in a native language, which is quite enriched. However the influence of other languages like Malayalam, Telegu, and Tamil are inevitable. There are quite a number of people who have developed fluency in these languages. Just like many of the tribes of India, these Kammara tribes have to keep their original culture and tradition intact.
The Kammara tribe has numerous totemic clans and marital relations are regulated among them and the Kammaras. The clans like the Killo (Tiger), Pangi (Kite), Samardi (flower), Korra (Sun), Bhallu (bear), etc. are the clans of Kammaras. The Kammaras share good relationship with other tribal groups of Kerala and societal and agricultural needs. The Kammaras are basically the group of blacksmiths and carpenters. Apart from these occupations, they are also engaged in cultivation. Food gatherings as well as cultivation are the chief modes of living of these Kammara tribes. Some of them have been practicing shifting cultivation. Needless to say, the economy of this Kammara tribal community follows the norms of the rural economy.
Although these Kammara tribes are animists, they are also following all the related practices and customs in proper spirit and enthusiasm. However, there are several Kammara tribes who also have adapted other religions like Hinduism
. Even some of these Kammara tribes have been converted to Buddhism
also. They worship different deities namely Sankudevata, Jakiri Devatha, Nishani Devatha, Gangalamma etc. Several festivals and occasions are also celebrated by them. Festivals like Kandi Koha, Mamidi Kotha, Sama Kotha, Chikkudu Kotha, Korra Kotha etc are some of their new fruit crop eating ceremonies and festivals like Gangalamma Panduga and Chaitrapurab are enjoyed with tribal songs and Dimsa folk dance. Other tribal groups of this region also join them during these festivals.
In the society of these Kammara tribes, marriage is fixed with the consent of the families of both the boy and girl. Also the cultural ebullience is observed in the manner these Kammara tribes dress up. At the times of wedding and also during several other social functions, these Kammara tribes wear colorful dresses. Kammara females also wear bright-colored sarees, which is held tight by a knot on the left shoulder. They also use flowers of different colors like deep orange, bright red, yellow and purple, which add to their beauty. A hairdo is formed by braiding or twisting the hair and their noses are also 'pierced' at the center and on the sides, bearing rings of several sizes.