(Last Updated on : 06/03/2013)
Folklores of Kerala are unique and varied. There are folklores about the origin of the state, religion, festivals, temples, etc. Some of the popular ones are the Parasurama
, legends of Kerala
relating to its origin, the St. Thomas tradition related to the origin of Christianity
and the Mahabali
legend relating to the origin of Onam
. Each temple in Kerala has Sthala Puranas
which throws light on some aspect or the other of the ancient Kerala culture.
Kerala has its own folk tales which deal with certain interesting personalities and their lives. A famous character who figures as the hero of a typical folk tale is Naranath Bhrandan whose main pastime was to roll heavy stones up to the top of the hill and then roll them down in order to emphasise the truth that it is not easy for man to reach the top but not at all difficult to lose the position. It is worth mentioning in this connection that the Aithihyamala by Kottarathil Sankunni is a treasure house of folklore and legends connected to different parts of Kerala.
The people of Kerala belonging to all castes and communities have their rich collection of folk songs which deal with a variety of themes. These folklores of Kerala mirror the joys and sorrows and the hopes and aspirations of the common people. The Vanchippattukal or boat songs sung by those who row the boats either during boat festivals or ordinary trips deal with diverse themes of human interest to the common man. The labour classes have their own characteristic songs which inspire them to put in their best by singing them in chorus. Special mention may be made in this context of the Vadakkan Pattukal (Northern Ballads), the Thekkan Pattukal (Southern Ballads) the Palli Pattukal and the Mappila Pattukal.
Some of the Palli Pattukal composed by Christians deal with Church history and lives of Saints. The Mappila Pattukal is the folk songs of the Mappilas (Muslim) of Malabar composed in colloquial Malayalam language and sung in a distinctive tune. They are composed in a mixture of Malayalam and Arabic and have a special charm of their own.
They deal with diverse themes such as religion, love satire, heroism, etc. The Mailanchi Pattu, the Oppana Pattu and the Ammayi Pattu belong to the category of Mappila Pattukal dealing with love and marriage and they were sung in chorus in connection with marriage festivals till recently. The Mappila songs of various types form part of the heritage of Malayalam language used today.