Aati kalenja

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Aati Kalenja is a traditional dance form practiced in Tulu Nadu, India. It is a traditional dance which is typically performed during the monsoon months of July and August.

As part of the ritual, a person dresses up in the form of a bhuta "spirit" known as Kalenja. Then, the Bhuta and his assistant, a drummer, go around the village and dance in front of homes. The householders reward them with rice, coconuts, etc.

It is believed that honoring the Kalenja in this manner will rid the village of all evil spirits. Kalenja is believed to be the protector of the village(s) from evil spirits. Hence the impersonator of Kalenja is welcomed by the villagers during the rainy season. The persons adorning the role of Kalenja are typically from a community called Nalike. The costume of Kalenja consists of coconut leaves, colorful dresses and a cap made of areca spate.

Aati Kalenja is a dying art form and is practiced only in certain pockets of Tulunadu these days.

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