Dhalo dance is one of the most famous rural dances of Goa. Dhalo is performed by women folk on the moonlit night-time of Hindu ‘Pausha’ month.
The dance is performed by kunbis, Bhandari, Naik, Gabit and Gaudi communities. According to legend, Radha used to sing love songs regarded as dhalos to Lord Krishna. Earlier dhalos referred solely to the love of Krishna and Radha.
Gradually, people developed the songs which have been sung in praises to different Gods also.
Significance of Dhalo Dance
Dhalos are performed for praying for divine intercession to get rescued from all evil powers, enhance family members and have peace in the village.
The festival is celebrated in accordance to the Hindu calendar, all through the month of Pausha and Magha.
Custom of Dhalo Dance
Dhalo usually begins on a Wednesday or a Sunday. Before the celebrations, the women decorate the open space of their house and the temple with rangoli. Women from the villages are also welcome to participate in the dance. However, widows do not take part in the dhalos.
Women offer talli i.e., rice, moog and jaggery which are then cooked and served to those present.
The leader of the village locally known as Mandkann invokes a salutation to the divinity, the Earth Mother and seeks her blessings for the whole village and for the festival rituals.
Performance of Dhalo Dance
The performance takes place in a sacred open space known as mand where all the village folk gather to sing, dance or play music as part of ritualistic performance.
As per requirements, the ladies dress up as men for the rituals. The women sing about the clothes who participate in the dance. The songs are typical but sometimes there are simple and spontaneous additions. The singing continues till late in the night.
Around midnight the various dances and games begin. The dancers arrange themselves in two parallel rows of 12, facing each other. They form a link within themselves in a tribal fashion with an arm-around-the-back arrangement, singing in unison.
In general, two rows of women face each other by swaying forward and backward while singing the stories of their life and the contemporary society. Stories are narrated and many events are described through the songs and dances. These dances are performed on the first six nights of Dhalo. Originally the themes of the songs sung during the Dhalo were about Krishna’s romance, Ramayana and the Mahabharata. However, of late Marathi and Hindi songs are included in the repertoire. On the concluding day, women wear all sorts of fancy dresses and even enact like that of men folk.
Dhalo Dance Music
The songs sung during the Dalo dance are possible in the Konkani language or in the Marathi language. The songs are dedicated to nature. They talk about the mother of the earth and the plants of animals. These songs include stories of everyday life while introducing natural love for people.