There are a number of festivals that we celebrate in India, and each of them comes with different customs. But, there’s more to them than that. These festivals, in their true sense, are also about meeting people we love, eating good food and having fun. At least, this is what a tradition from the Chamayavilakku festival reminded us of.
A Twitter user, Ananth Rupanagudi, shared a picture from the festival that is celebrated in Kerala. This picture showed a man dressed up as a woman in a saree. Apparently, he had also won a makeup contest, that took place during the Chamayavilakku festival. People gather at the Devi Temple in the Kottamkulara region of Kollam to celebrate and such competitions add to the spirit.
According to a legend, a group of boys had found a coconut while playing near the pond where the idol is placed. And when they tried to break it, it started oozing blood. After narrating this incident to a priest, he revealed that it was actually a goddess, and a temple was built. It was also believed that only women were allowed to worship the goddess, so men ended up dressing as women to worship her. Since then, it has been treated as a ritual that takes place every year.
Given the nature of the festival, it has also become a safe space for trans women. To be happy, and to be ourselves is probably how festivals were intended to be.