The climax of the traditional vannam | Daily News

The climax of the traditional vannam

Vannam is one of the Kandyan dance forms. It is the last inclusion in Kandyan dance. There are altogether eighteen Vannams in the Kandyan dance. Each Vannam is based on a separate theme. The last inclusion of Vannam in Kandyan dance has provided a lot of scope for Nirthya movements in the Kandyan dance. It is a truth that the Tamils and Sinhalese live together on this Island for centuries. Both these communities are linked together by religion, language and culture. They are inter-related with one another with peace and harmony. Each community respects each other’s culture, traditions, religion, and the arts. The Vannams are also often referred to as Vannams.

The word Vannam was derived from the Sinhala text Varnana. According to the ancient Sinhala text earlier, the Vannams were used to sing only. Later they were used to the solo dance, each reveals one dominant idea. The Kandyan King Sri Weeraparakrama Narendrasinghe gave full support. Generally, the Vannams are based on numerous themes. It is based on nature, history, legend, folk religion and folk beliefs. There are many similarities in the terminologies among Vannams, Bharatha Natyam and Kathakali. Each Vannam is based on separate imaginative themes.

Devotion and dedication

Normally many Buddhists visit Hindu Temples and worship the Hindu deities. They worship with total devotion and dedication. Such attitudes bring communal harmony, religious harmony, and mutual understanding between the two main ethnic communities. The longstanding relationship between the two communities naturally influences one another’s rational and cultural relationship.

Generally, the Vannam is based on numerous themes. It is based on various themes, such as folk legends, nature, and religion. Most of the Vannams describe the behaviour of animals such as elephants, monkeys, rabbits, reptiles, and birds. Each Vannama is based on a separate imaginative theme.

First among the Vannam is Gajaga Vannama. Gajaga Vannama is based on a particular legend. It deals and explains that Iravana, an elephant, sporting in the cool water of a lotus tank. The movements of the elephant’s majestic movements, majestic twists and majestic steps are naturally and beautifully reflected in the Vannama. This is a most attractive Vannama.

In Tamil language, Gaja means elephant. Lord Ganesha the elephant-faced God is always called as Lord Ganapathy, Gajan, Gajamugan, Gajavathan, Gajendran, Gaja Nathan, and Gaja Mohan. There is another Vannama on God Ganesha. In this Vannama, the dancers invoke the blessings of Lord Ganesha. This Vannama is called Ganapathy Vannama.

Naiyandi Melam

Another Vannama is Naiyandi Vannama. In Tamil, there was a Melam (orchestra) called Naiyandi Melam which was quite popular and was in use long ago, but still, in some places, Naiyandi Melam is practised.

The Naiyandi Vannama is dealing with a story connected to a princely Naga (cobra); the snake charmer’s movements are reflected less in this dance, but the movements of the snake are reflected more in the dance. For this Vannama, Sarpa Sirasa hand gesture is used.

The Sarpa Sirasa hand gesture is used in Bharatha Natyam (Tamil classical dance form), and Kathakali. In Bharatha Natyam, the Naga Narthanam is especially a dance which depicts the dance of the Cobra. Another Vannama called Naga Vannama depicts the one day life of a Cobra which crawls on the floor of the court halls and depicts how the Cobra emerges out of its hole and how the cobra raises its hood in different, directions. This depicts the real natural reflecting movements of the Cobra.

In Bharatha Natyam, the single hand Muthra Sarpasirasa and the joint hand gesture Naga Bandha, Muthras (gestures) depict the Naga (cobra) Muthras.

Another Vannama which is called Hanuma Vannama. In this Vannama the dancer reveals the actions, and different attitudes of a monkey, through the movements, by jumping, from tree to tree etc. The dancers dress as monkeys with monkey’s facial feature makeup. In Hinduism, Lord Hanuman worship is widely practised for success, bravery, moral strength, and protection

Some of the Vannams are directly linked with Hindu mythology, for instance, Savula Vannama. Savula Vannama is almost based on Skanda Purana. According to this Vannama, there was turmoil between the Asuras and the Devas.

In the end, Lord Skanda entered the battlefield with sword and spear and fought with the Asuras. At last one of the Asuras was split, into two by the Lord Skanda. In Hinduism Lord, Skanda killed the Sooran (Asura) who were split by Lord Skanda into two. Thereafter, the Asura became a cock and then a peacock.

Victorious dance

Mayura Vannama is another Vannama. The theme of the Vannama is about the peacock Vahana (vehicle) of Lord Kataragama. Buddhists worship the Lord Kataragama. Lord Skanda or Lord Muruga, whose vahana is a peacock, which is also called in Tamil as Mayuram. Lord Skanda (Lord Murugan) is often called Mayuran. The Mayura hand gesture is used in Bharatha Natyam and Kathakali to depict the peacock.

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