The paleolithic people lived in the natural rock shelters with a means of subsistence of hunting and gathering.They might have started to believe in the concept of mountain god or Mala daivam.later when they started to settle permanently along the river basins the mother goddess myth of fertility started to evolve along with the hunting gods.Mother goddess used to sit on sacred pala tree ,and other trees .Thus the groves or kavu emerged along the coast of river basins.The Valluvanad region of Palakkad district is blessed with the presence of a number of sacred groves .
Mookkan chathan is a ritualistic dance form probably sprung from the Lord Shiva cult and is performed in connection with local temple festival .This divine ritualistic art form is performed by Paraya community though some believe that mookkan chathan acts as a guardian of temple , the thottamns of paraya community depicts him as Udivanathappan orUdinithappan who is considered as lord shiva.some interpret chathan being sastha who is also considered as a mountain god.There is a temple for Mookan chathan near Edapal. We can see it as a diety in Athippotta temple near Alathur Palakkad district.
MOOKAN CHATHAN THARA
When the flag hoisting ceremony koorayidal ,which heralds the beginning of temple festival celebration is over, the Paraya community, the descendants of great Pakkanar starts to proclaim the festival this is known as Kottiyariyikkal”. that means the house visits instils the spirit of festival among the village folks. Mookan chathan thara exists in paraya community temples where Chathan is conjured up.Mookkan chathan visits each house hold of the thattakam and consecrete the devotees and also proclaim the advent of the temple festival.
along with Bhagavathiyattam.
The mookan chathan announces its arrival in the house holds by beating the drums .the female members of the house hold receive the Mookan chathan by lighting a lamp.Devotees bestow Chathan offering of rice filled in measures like nazhi or idangazhi after the performance Mookan chathan may comically seek clothes as dhothies as offering and usually performs another show if it was provided. Some times Mookan chathan visits houses along with Thiratheyyam or Parappoothan.
It is also performed as an alluring dance form on the pooram day after Bhagavathiyattam. The Mookkan chathan”s performance may be embellished with comic overtones and it attracts a number of spectators.Mookan chathan holds baton in each hand and beats when he plays. He enjys third position while presented along with Kettiyattam or Bhagavathiyattam.
The Mookkan chathan”s performance,embellished with comic overtone
Mookkan chathan should be recognised from Khethrappan or khethr who performs Mandumn peeliyattam on the pooram day.
The character is heavenly made up with gorgeous costumes and enchanting face paintings and .the costumes are given below.
1.Thalasseela-the divine head cloth of the performer.
2the prodruding nose.the unique feature of Mookan chathan is the protruding nose as the name suggests.
the protruding nose
3.Mukkuttam-special decoration on face made of brass or bronze plates.
4.Chettyakam-exaggerated ear decoration
7.Kaithamara-arm decoration made of brass.
8.Vanchi-is the festoon like long laces on the wrist(kaivanchi) where vanchi is fitted on the arm we call that thol vanchi(shoulder decoration).
Vanchi is made of the bark of a tree locally called Vanchi) .
making the head gear
9. the head gear of theMookan chathan is made of mats weaving bamboo pleates and there is an intricately laced crown made of tender coconut leaves.
young mookan chathan
We are sure that Mookkan chathan performance is one of the most colourful and spectacular folk arts in association with the festival of Valluvanadan temples.