back to top

Dalkhai Festival 2023: Celebrating the Folk Dance of Odisha

Dalkhai is a folk dance of Odisha, India, that originated in the Sambalpur district. It is performed by the Adivasi communities of Western Odisha, such as the Binjhal, Kuda, Mirdha, Sama and others. The dance is named after the word ‘Dalkhai’, which means ‘lady love’ in Oriya, and is used as an address to a lover at the beginning and end of each stanza sung in the dance.

History and Significance

Dalkhai is a dance that reflects the culture and traditions of the Adivasi people of Odisha. It is based on the themes of love, nature, mythology and social issues. The dance depicts the stories of Radha and Krishna, Ramayana and Mahabharata, as well as the daily life and struggles of the Adivasi people.

Dalkhai is also a festival that is celebrated in the month of October, coinciding with the Dussehra festival. The festival is marked by worshipping Goddess Durga, who is made of sand on the riverbank and placed under a tree. The festival also involves offering sacrifices to the goddess, singing folk songs, playing musical instruments and performing the Dalkhai dance. The festival is a way of expressing gratitude to the goddess for her blessings and protection.

Features and Style

Dalkhai is a dance that involves both male and female dancers, who wear colorful and traditional costumes and ornaments. The women wear printed Sambalpuri sarees, scarves, necklaces, bangles and anklets, while the men wear dhotis, kurtas, turbans and waistbands. The women also tie bells around their ankles to produce rhythmic sounds while dancing.

The dance is accompanied by a rich orchestra of folk music played by instruments such as dhol (a double-sided drum), nisan (a large iron drum), tamki (a small drum), tasa (a brass drum) and mahuri (a double-reed instrument). The dhol player leads the tempo and dances in front of the women. The dance consists of various steps and movements that are synchronized with the music and lyrics. The dance also involves flirting and teasing between the male and female dancers.

Celebration in 2023

The Dalkhai festival in 2023 will be celebrated from October 14 to October 21, coinciding with the Dussehra festival. The festival will be celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy by the Adivasi communities of Western Odisha, as well as by other people who appreciate the folk culture of Odisha. The festival will be an occasion to showcase the rich heritage and diversity of Odisha’s folk dance and music.

The festival will also be an opportunity to promote tourism and cultural exchange in Odisha, as many visitors from other states and countries will be attracted to witness the spectacle of Dalkhai. The festival will also be a platform to encourage young talent and preserve the folk art form for future generations.

Published at :

EBNW Story is managed by students of Saksham Sanchar Foundation. If you like the efforts to make #BrilliantBharat, you can encourage them through donation - Thank you