Formerly known as Laccadives, Lakshadweep islands are an archipelago of
36 exquisite coral islands having their own distinct culture and
tradition existing for over centuries.
Despite the influence of Islam, a caste system still exists based on occupation – landowners, sailors and cultivators. All Madrassas impart religious instruction to school-going children; many individuals bear two names.
People recite folk ballads
during household occasions and festivals. The theme is based on the
arrival of Hazrat Ubaidullah in Lakshadweep, the plunder of the islands
by the Portuguese - all these are perpetuated by the balladeer.
Two most popular art forms include Kolkali and Parichakali. People celebrate all religious festivals in their own way accompanied by the famous Lava dance. Chief festivals include Id-ul-Fitr, Id-ul-zuha, Milad- un-Nabi and Muharram.
The costumes of the women are as beautiful as the sunsets on the
beaches of Lakshadweep. Ladies wear a Kachi with a silver belt round the
waist. The silk Kachi covers the body below the waist while the upper
part is covered with a skin-hugging embroidered jacket. A colurful scarf
called 'Thattam' covers the head. Men can be seen wearing lungis. In
Minicoy, however, jeans is preferred by the youth.
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