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Gussadi : An Important Dance Form Performed During Festivals

Gussadi : A Traditional dance performed by the Gond tribes, particularly the Rajagonds of Adilabad district in Telangana, during the Diwali festival. It is a form of tribal dance that is performed by men in groups called Dandari groups, and smaller groups within them are called Gussadi.

During the Dance, the performers wear vibrant attire, including turbans studded with peacock feathers, deer horns, artificial moustaches, beards, and goat skins. They dress in saffron and turmeric-colored clothes and wear bandages around their legs and waist. They carry a staff in their hands and are attractively decorated with garlands. Vibhuti-colored shirts are also worn as part of their attire. The dance is accompanied by the rhythmic beats of instruments such as Dappu, Tudumu, Pipri, and Kolikammu.

One unique aspect of the dance is that after the performance, the dancers show respect by washing their feet. It is a tradition associated with the dance. Another notable feature is that only men participate in the dance.

The festival commences about a week or 10 days before Diwali, starting with the “Bhogi” day and concluding with the “Kolabodi” day. During this time, Gussadi dancers wear colorful clothes and adorn themselves with ornaments. They form groups called Dandari and visit nearby villages to sing and dance. Each Dandari group consists of more than forty members, and Gussadi is a part of these larger groups. The musical instruments used in the dance include drums, Tudumu, Vette, Dolki Peme, and Kalikom.

In terms of appearance, Gussadi dancers cover their entire bodies with ash and light lime, and they wear only a small net. Lime or ashes are smeared on their faces, and they wear a goat or deer skin on their left shoulder. They carry a pestle in their hand. The belief among the Gonds is that those who dance Gussadi become possessed by the gods. Occasionally, Gussadi dancers demonstrate their supposed magical powers.

Gussadi & Rituals

Additionally, as part of their rituals, the Gonds put sorghum on a piece of paper, set it on fire, and transform it into paellas. They also chew glass pieces coarsely, displaying their unique customs and beliefs.

Overall, the Gussadi dance is an integral part of the Gond tribe’s celebration during the Diwali festival, showcasing their cultural traditions and beliefs through music, dance, and distinctive adornments.

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