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yalamber wrote 12 articles and got 7 comments. The last article was submitted on 02/17/07

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Yalang

Date Monday, December 25th 2006, 11:42 PM Icon 52 Date 0

Yalang is the most popular dance among Limbus. Teenagers to late adults of both sexes participate enthusiastically in this dance without any hesitation. It is organized at night and danced following the rhythm of Palam. Foot-steps and way of traversing are taken care in the dance. Musical instruments are not used as it is not possible in the real life situation. Today, this dance can be observed even during the day time in seasonally organized market places or fairs.

The literal meaning of Yalang is paddy dance. According to some knowledgeable persons, this dance was originated to thrash the grains from dried paddy plants in the past. It is said that there was no custom of using oxen to thrash rice grains as is done today and young men and women from villages around had to gather and thrash the grains by trampling the dried paddy plants. It was a hard job and they had to spend the whole day and night. So they used to sing the whole night while trampling the plants with grains and their way of trampling turned into a dance while singing. Eventually it developed into present from of Yalang or paddy-dance. It is difficult to say whether it is a matter of conjecture or an interpretation based on historical facts. But it is a matter of conjecture or an interpretation based on historical facts. But it is obvious that it was a harvest dance (part of the festival) which turned into a dance of lovers irrespective of seasons or occasions. It is believed that early love songs were indeed work songs but the form was gradually absorbed into the bardic traditions' (Richmond et al. 1990). Today Yalang can be organized any time (at night) when a guest or stranger is seen in some houses in the village. It is the custom of Limbu to entertain the guests by Yalang. The best opportunities or occasions for such dance are market places and fairs organized from time to time in or around the villages and special occasions where people from different places gather. When young men want to go the market place or a fair of some far off village, they have to be accompanied by their sisters so that they can dance with the sisters of those gentlemen who are outside the ties of consanguinity and vice versa.

Laoti (1988) has classified the traditional Yalang in three categories Charkaow (with fast stepping), Yangsingchang (with slow motion) and Tamarange (with long stepping). But, today only two types of Yalang can be observed: (1) Kemba lang and (2) Kushrakpa (Kasarakpa). Kemba Lang is a slow motion dance and it is danced in a straight row clasping the hands of each other arranged in an order of male and female and thus demonstrating unities. This type of dance is known as Tamrange also. Palam of this dance is also slow in tempo, but the melodic movement makes it alluring. This dance, by its techniques of stepping and moving, symbolically represents the thrashing grains from paddy plants and making a heap from scattered grains. The other form of dance is Kusrakpa. It is based on the Palam of fast rhythm and tune. The style of dancing also differs from place to place but it is not so complex to follow. However, expertise makes the differences in artistic performance. On the other hand, to follow the tune of Palam is difficult and needs some practice. A person at one end leads the row in proper stepping, and three steps forward in the left corner and three steps backward in the former position and the rests follow it. This style of dance is known as Lambang Ungma Lang. It is done three times and is called Sumtuppa. There is another way of dancing also-just making a circle. It is simple and comfortable. Its stepping or pushing by foot. It is difficult to dance in the proper way throughout the night. So relaxed way of dancing is followed.

Yalang does not look attractive or entertaining to the spectators. But it is really an entertainment to those who participate in the dance. The dance is just the context and the theme lies in Palam, a song of Yalang. Dancing of Yalang (Yarakma) is a continuous process, once it occurred between two young men and women, it may follow throughout their life when they meet on some occasions.

Boys and girls of ten-twelve years start to partake in Yalang and they are guided by senior participants. Age difference is not taken much care as novice dancers want to dance with a senior or experienced dancer who are well versed in Palam to expedite their learning process. Unmarried women or women married at the latter age, widows usually become well versed in this dance. For men it depends upon their interest and opportunity. It has been found that most of the girls become active in participating the Yalang after marriage as they come of age. The obvious reasons were (i) the foreboding of prosaic life of housewife and intense desire of exploiting every opportunities of enjoyment during a short period of staying at natal home after marriage, and (ii) to find another home or husband if the first one is not suitable to her.

Sometimes, preliminary negotiation for dance is done through Khyali (Panthang). At the day time, Yalang is not performed. Exchange of views and expression of romantic feelings is done through Khyali. It is a conversation with poetic expression, full of alliterative language, strophic references and use of metaphor. Eventually it leads to the Yalang.

It is often said that Limbus spend their best part of life in Yalang without paying much attention on household works and thinking about livelihood or progress of life. Most of the Limbus believe that frequent participation in Yalang, and becoming well-versed in Palam, songs of Yalang, or to gain mastery in Hakpare Samlo and other aesthetic aspects of culture is an endeavor of unhappy ending, a perseverance often resulted in severe privation, disgrace and tragedy. But still young people can not restrain themselves from getting involved in such institution. Though prevalent everywhere, the true spirit and seriousness of Yalang is fading away and becoming just a throng of light entertainment or romance seekers today.



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