Oppana Dance

Oppana is one of the popular social entertainment prevalent among the Muslim community of Kerala. It is prominent mostly in the Malappuram district. In olden days, Oppana was presented during a Muslim marriage function in Malabar area like Kozhikode, Kannur, Kasaragod. Now, it had become a much popular art form in Kerala

It is a kind of dance form presented by fifteen females (including the singers). The bride, dresses in finery and covered with golden ornaments will be sitting in the midst of the dancer's circle. The bride's feet and palms will be adorned with intricately woven pattern of mehandi (henna). He will be sitting and watching the other girls singing and dancing around her. They will make rhythmic steps and clap while singing. Two or three girls will be the main singers and the other girls will join in chorus. They will move around the bride rhythmically with the music. Only Mapilappattu will be sung on the occasion. Mapilappattu is a special kind of song sung by the Muslim community. It will be rhythmic and meaningful. For Oppana, they sing Mapilappattu praising the beauty of the bride and groom. The song may also contain teasing comments to the marital bliss and this will make the bride shy. There will be prayer in the midst.

Oppana is not only meant for the bride and girls. Sometimes, it is also presented by males in order to entertain the bridegroom. It is quite rare and usually takes place just before the bridegroom leaves for the bride's house or at the time he enters the Maniyara (new room of the couple). The musical instruments used for performing Oppana include elathalam, thabala and harmonium. But nowadays, most of the people do not use such instruments and they go for karaoke. The song will be sung both in Malayalam and Arabic.

If you trace the history of Oppana, you may reach to the Tamil word 'Oppanai paattu'. This Malayalam term has been originated from the Tamil word. The term 'Oppanai' in Tamil means make up. In olden days, Oppana was performed during the occasion of the make of Muslim brides. The term 'Oppana' has also been considered as originated from the Arabic term 'Afna'. There are two types of Oppna-Oppana chayal and Oppana murukkam. They will not clap while performing Oppana chayal.

This traditional art form has now even conquered the youth festival stages. People of other religion also performs Oppana nowadays. Oppana has now became a wonderful art and crossed the barriers of religions and other rules. Still, Oppana deserves a much higher position in the society.

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