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Oppana (Malayalam: ഒപ്പന) is a popular form of social entertainment among the Mappila (Kerala Muslims) community of Kerala, South India, prevalent throughout Kerala, especially in Malappuram.[1] The Malayalam word 'Oppana Pattu' is the derivation of the Tamil word 'Oppanai Pattu'. In Tamil, 'Oppanai' means make up.[2] Oppana was originated on the occasion of make of Muslim brides.[clarification needed] Oppana is extinct in Tamil Nadu. But in Kerala, this art form has been revived with much popularity on the performing stages of the Youth Festivals of the student community.

Oppana, a dance form among the Mappila community

Oppana is generally presented by females, numbering about fifteen, including musicians, on a wedding day. The bride dressed in all finery, covered with gold ornaments and her palms and feet adorned with an intricately woven pattern of mylanchi (henna), sits amidst the circle of dancers. She is the chief spectator sitting on a peetam (chair), around which the singing and dancing take place. While they sing, they clap their hands rhythmically and move around, the bride using simple steps. Two or three girls begin the songs and the rest join in chorus.[3]

Sometime Oppana is also presented by males to entertain the bridegroom. It usually takes place just before the bridegroom leaves for the bride's residence where the Nikah (marriage) takes place or at the time he enters the Maniyara.[4]

Harmonium, tabla, ganjira and elathaalam are the musical instruments employed for this performance. Only the Mappilapaattu will be sung on the occasion.

The word Oppana may have been derived from an Arabic form, Afna. There are two types of Oppana, one is Oppana chayal and another is Oppana murukkam. When Oppana chayal is performed, they do not clap their hands. If it begins with Chayal it would also end with Chayal only.[5]

Oppana performed at a college arts fest

See also[edit]


  1. ^ P.K., Ajith Kumar (14 November 2008). "Reinventing tradition". The Hindu. Retrieved 15 August 2009.
  2. ^ Shabdkosh.com. "oppanai - Meaning in Tamil - oppanai in Tamil - Shabdkosh | நிகண்டு : English Tamil Dictionary and Translation". www.shabdkosh.com. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  3. ^ "Oppana — a Popular Form of Art". Arab News. 16 December 2006. Retrieved 15 August 2009.
  4. ^ Porter, James; Rice, Timothy; Goertzen, Chris (1998). The Garland encyclopedia of world music. 8. Alexander Street Press. ISBN 978-0-8240-4946-1. Retrieved 15 August 2009.
  5. ^ P.J., Varghese; Ramachandran, K.R; Kurian, P.S. (1993). Festivals of Kerala. Cochin: Tourist Desk.

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