In Goa, India, tribal women celebrate a religious festival with dancing and games. In his video today, Devidas shows us the sparkle that fun, games and dancing bring to the tribal women of his community. With the prevailing patriarchal structure prevalent in most tribal communities, he wants to show that there are occasions on which the women are free to gather together and take time away from their chores to rejoice, socialise and have a little fun. Devidas has grown up seeing his sister and mother take part in the festivities, and is eager to tell the world about these traditional customs which become sources of entertainment and pleasure for the women, whose lives otherwise are busy and challenging. Our Community Correspondent from Maharashtra, Rohini, made a similar video on the Naag Panchami festival, which is the only day in the year that women are free to get together and play as they please in her community (Click here to watch this video). Like this, the hard-working tribal women of Cotigao have their own day of freedom on the eve of Diwali, called Dhillo. 'Dhillo' is the name of the icon made of clay or cow dung that the women make to symbolise their deity; it is placed on the village 'maand' (platform or space kept for performances or festivals) where the women proceed to perform folk dances, which are known as 'khel' (game). In India, where mostly women are discouraged from openly enjoying themselves and their mobility restricted, the content of this video serves as a reminder that certain customs which are considered 'traditional' and relegated to marginalised tribal societies are actually quite forward-thinking. Devidas believes that these wonderful customs that promote gender equality should be considered part of a state's heritage and not just a tribal tradition. He wishes that people would watch this video and be inspired to let their women play and dance in the same way.
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