Kunitha’ (suggi kuNita) (ಸುಗ್ಗಿ
ಕುಣಿತ) is a dance performed in
various parts of Karnataka at the time of harvest. However, the ‘hAlakki
Okkaliga’ community of the
The performance begins when the drummer warms up his drum on an open fire and beckons the dancers to assemble with jingling anklets adorning their feet. The drummer who is the nucleus of this performance starts beating the drum in various rhythmic patterns. The dances are performed in tune with the music created by the drummer. Some of the drummers keep on making exuberant shouts to enliven the atmosphere. The dance performances are held on a number of days and an all-night show is presented on the final day. Occasionally, dancers from the neighboring villages join the dance. The morning after the final day, the arena is worshipped by young women. Interestingly all the villagers follow these young women in a procession and reach the ‘Hero Stone’ (Veeragallu) in the village and worship that.
Ezhavas, a tribal community of Coorg have their own brand of tribal dance called ‘erakada kuNita’. These dances are held around a fire and both men and women take place in the performance. Tribal musical instruments like ‘duDi’ and ‘cINi’ are used to provide the background score. Similar dances are found in other communities such as ‘kADu kuruba’, ‘jEnu kuruba’ and ‘sOliga’.
Siddis, a community that has migrated to North Canara centuries ago, koragas of South Canara, Coorgis with their own UmmattaTa constitute some of the regional variations of the suggi kuNita (‘harvest dance’) siddis use special instruments such as ‘DhamAmi’, and ‘BavAngara’.
HAlakki okkaligas from the district
There are three categories of suggi kuNita known as hirE kuNita, (five days), kirE kuNita (one day) and bOLa kuNita. (with out costumes)
Further readings and Links:
1. The Past, Present and the Future: Suggi Kunita (Good Photographs and a short note)
2. Kamat's Potpourri: Halakki Vokkals of Uttara Kannada (A short essay)