Oppana Folk Dance, Kerala

Kerala is known to be the home of the Gods or God’s own country. This is one reason why, every ceremony or festival celebrated in this state of India, is accompanied by an offering to the Gods that they worship. One such dance, that is performed by the Muslim community at the time of their wedding ceremonies, is the Oppana.

The gold jewelry, the shiny dresses and the henna combined together, form a fascinating scene in front of the person watching the dance. It is normally performed by 15 females at least, accompanied by the local folk Muslim music, on which the females, all dressed-up, dance around the bride who seems like a queen seated amidst the dancers.

They clap their way around the bride, which runs in sync with the music. Traditionally, it is a dance performed by women; however, now, even men are allowed to join the acoustic dance performance which is known as the Oppana, in Kerala. All of this is done, before the actual wedding takes place when the bride and groom are seated together. The major reason for the Oppana dance is to celebrate the happiness of the bride, who is supposed to be bound in the bondage of marriage very soon.

There is no actual history of how the Oppana dance came into fashion. Moreover, it is almost extinct in Tamil Nadu; however, when at a Muslim wedding in Kerala, just ask for the females of the household to perform the dance, and they would happily do it.

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Niharika S
23 September 2021

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