Margam Kali – The christian dance form of Kerala

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Margam Kali is a round dance form of Knanaya christians in Kerala, India. Maargam means path in Malayalam and refers to the christians who chose St.Thomas’s( of Cana ) path. Kali means dance or play. Now it is majorly performed at weddings and other ceremonies of Knanaya christians

History of Margam Kali

  1. The period of origin is yet to be confirmed
  2. It might have originated from Jewish wedding songs, Sangam Kali or Yathra Kali 
  3.  Knanaya scholar Puttanpurikkal Uthuppu Lukose compiled and published Margamkali Pattukal in 1910
  4. During 17th century CE Margamkali have been edited and refashioned   
  5. In the 1970s and 1980s priests Fr. George Karukaparambil and Jacob Vellian revived this art form

Costumes and rituals of Margam Kali

  1. Ladies wear  the traditional white dhoti and blouse 
  2. Kavini, mekka mothiram  and bangles  are the ornaments worn
  3. Twelve dancers sing and clap around a lamp kept at the center
  4. The lamp and dancers represent Jesus Christ and his disciples
  5. Songs and dances narrate the life of Saint Thomas

Where to watch Margam Kali

The Margam Kali is performed mainly by the women folks of the Knanaya Christians in cultural shows, events like weddings and by school children in competitions

Photo courtesy: By Abhijith Sheheer – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

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