Ceremonial Dances – Enriching Cultural And Religious His

Most people view dancing as a sacred act, especially among those cultures that perform ceremonial dances with religious and cultural importance. Indeed, they are still practiced even during today’s modern times to enrich one’s culture and history.

Dance and Religion

A religious taboo continues to exist when it comes to incorporating dancing as part of religious activity. Some people think that dancing is not enough to renew energy in both mind and body through dancing, while others believe it to be quite a powerful spiritual experience.

There are several manifestations of religious activities through dancing. One of the most common ways of incorporating religion through dance forms is via rituals. The act of dancing is believed to help a performer enter a trance state that will open up their spiritual path to an empowering religious experience and communicate with the divine being. Other dances also incorporate spells or prayers.

Native American Dancing

The Native Americans had quite an interesting perspective on dancing. They perform dances for varius reasons and believed that the beat of the drum served as the spirit that guides them spiritually. Hence, Native Americans performed what was to be later on considered as ceremonial dancing since they danced for joy, rain, grief, in preparation for war, and for worship. It is for this same reason such that dancing was embedded not just in their individual identities, but has become part of tribal history. Ceremonial dances played a huge role in the Native American heritage and culture.

But still, there remained to be a few others who performed dancing because of the music and for the enrichment of this art form.

Kerala Festival Dancing

Kerala is a Southwestern Indian city known for its local festivals and celebrations. During these cultural and religious festivities, ceremonial dances are an integral part of the celebration and has earned its social importance throughout the years. Here are some of the Kerala festivals that involve various types of ceremonial dances:

• Onam: This is a popular festival in Kerala that is observed with much gaiety and fervor, typically held between August and September. There are a lot of dancing involved that represent religious harmony amongst various families. There is also a ritual attached to the ceremonial dances that require the performers to wear new clothes, or paint themselves with bright yellow, red, and black colors. Meanwhile, the music is produced through cultural instruments thakil and udukku.

• Mahasivarathri: This is an annual festival observed by the Hindus that involve lots of ceremonial dances as a way to commemorate the death of Lord Shiva in an effort to save the world of destruction.

• Vishu: This festival is held during the month of April, which is the New Year according to calendar of Malayalam. Like the above festivals, there are ceremonial dancing involved mainly to thank for the abundant supply of fruits, flowers, cereals, and coconuts, while also wishing for good luck in the coming year.

Asian Ceremonial Dancing

There is a distinct correlation between drama, music, dance, and culture in majority of Asia. Hence, costumes and particular dance movements hold a sacred cultural importance, often depicting historical events, legends, mythology, and deep ceremonial activities and worship. Each performance of ceremonial dance could last for several hours, depending on the event being portrayed or the particular cultural event being commemorated.

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