Aati is an inauspicious month as per the Tulu calendar. It is believed that this month has most of the disasters and calamities happening hence the traditions forbid anyone from buying anything new or starting up anything. Aati Kalenja festival is one of the festivals celebrated in Mangalore by the Nalke tribe.
Aati Kalenja Festival – The Arrival of the Spirit Kalenja
Kalenja festival has a great tradition to look back in history. The festival falls during the rainy season of July-August in the month of Aati. The festival is celebrated to commemorate the arrival of Kalenja who comes to protect the people from all the bad omens like diseases, bacteria, flood etc.
Usually, the people belonging to a certain group called the Nalike tribe dresses up as Kalenjaand visit all the houses in the village. Kalenja blesses everyone and assures on happy living and even collect some coconut, rice etc.
Aati Kalenja is a folk way of dealing with the nature to protect human from the torrential rains by bringing in the spirit of Kalenja to the earth. Kalenja is a dance form performed to drive away the evil happening on the mother earth and bring in prosperity.
Aati Kalenja Festival Mangalore
The Nalke community in Mangalore dresses up with a costume made of tender coconut leaves, colorful clothes, anklets, caps made of areca nut sheaths etc. Even the person does face paints with various colors and holds an umbrella made of leaves and dances in front of every house with the beats of the instrument tembare.
The Kalenja is dressed up with black and gray face paint with the red mustache and skirt that is made of strands of tender banana leaves and he wears a cobra-like head gear and ornaments made of palm leaves.
The Kalenjaper former visits every house and dances to ward off the evil and then collects little paddy, turmeric, charcoal, coconut etc. and perform rituals to ward off the evils and other misfortunes coming to the family.
Aati Kalenja – The Mythological Connection
Kalenja was a mythological character with whom the festivals rituals are connected. Kalenja was bestowed with divine powers, but a common man. With his powers, he was the one who was supposed to annihilate all the evils that were happening in the month of Aati.
Aati or Ashada the Month of Nourishment
Aati or Ashada is the month usually accompanied by torrential rain hence most people stay inside. The month of July-August is usually the season of heavy rainfall in those areas. During this month, most of the people follow some strict diets that will help them build immunity and let them be healthy.
Rainy seasons are indeed mesmerizing, yet there are many side effects of the same. Most of the places get flooded with rivers and streams overflowing. Hence nothing can be done in that month, hence there are not many activities done during the month. With these overflows, there is some purification happening, the ponds and rivers that become home to parasites will be cleared, with the excess water flowing away.
The month is observed with much enthusiasm by Nalke tribe in Mangalore, where everyone follows certain rituals and practices and modify their daily routines including, more of Ayurveda and certain foods that help to build immunity in this torrential rain.
Aati month is sacred, as that is the month when people offer to their ancestors and remember them.