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CHAMAYAVILAKKU: Festival from Kerala



  Apr 01, 2024

CHAMAYAVILAKKU: Festival from Kerala



Chamayavilakku, a unique festival from Kerala, is a celebration that transcends conventional gender boundaries, symbolized through dress and ritual. Held in Kollam district’s Kottankulangara Sri Bhagavathy Temple, it sees men adopting women’s attire, embracing femininity in a spiritual context.


Date & Significance: Occurring in Meenam (mid-March to mid-April), it aligns with the Malayalam calendar. This festival not only honors a divine legend but also promotes gender fluidity and inclusivity, especially resonating with the transgender community.


Tradition & Attire: Participants, dressed as women, join a nocturnal procession to seek blessings from Goddess Durga. This act of men wearing women’s clothing is a direct homage to a legend where cowherds, disguised as girls, conducted the first pujas at the temple.


Rituals: The Ezhunnallathu, a lamp-holding procession, is central to the festival, symbolizing the light of divine blessings and community unity.


Legend & Legacy: The festival’s roots lie in a miraculous event where a bleeding stone was found to contain the divine essence of Vanadurga. This discovery led to the tradition of cross-dressing for the temple’s rituals, symbolizing devotion and transformation.

 
Community & Inclusivity: 
Over time, Chamayavilakku has grown to be a beacon for the transgender community, celebrating diversity and acceptance. This evolution highlights the festival’s role in fostering a more inclusive society.

By weaving together spirituality, tradition, and a progressive stance on gender, Chamayavilakku stands as a powerful symbol of cultural adaptability and social harmony.



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