Bhuta Kola


Bhuta Kola is an ancient form of spirit worship practiced by the people of Mangalore. Bhuta Kola is celebrated by the Tulu-speaking communities belonging to South Kannad districts in Karnataka and Kasargod districts of Kerala.

Bhuta Kola in Mangalore is a form of spirit dance that is performed by the people of Mangalore from December to January. Although, the origin of the Bhuta Kola of Mangalore is unknown; yet, Bhuta Kola seems to be an inevitable part of the socio-cultural life of Mangalore.

Moreover, the 'bhutas' or the spirits worshiped during the festival are believed to be the guardians of the village, who protect the villagers as well as their livestock from the evil forces. In fact, the spirits that are worshiped by the villagers are considered to be the attendants of Lord Shiva.

It is noteworthy in this context that the 'Kola' is a kind of Bhuta worship that includes devotion, inspiration and entertainment. The Bhuta Kola at Mangalore is an annual festival that takes place in different stages. The festival begins with the cutting of plantain and is followed by a cock fight, the coming of 'Bhandara', flag hoisting, an informal invitation, putting on the make up, wearing the Gaggara, etc. During the ceremony, the people of Mangalore sing a typical song, known as 'Pad-danas'. These songs are narrative epics that narrate the genesis and proliferation of the Bhuta cult.

Thus, as it is evident, the Bhuta Kola at Mangalore lies at the core of the village life. The Bhuta Kola largely adheres to the religious sentiments of the rural community of Mangalore. In a way, the Bhuta Kola serves as a forum that celebrates the community life.

Last Updated on 21 September 2011