Horse Dance In The Month Of Chaitra
This folk item is connected with the 'Shakti' cult of coastal Orissa confined to the people of 'Kaibarta' caste only. This festival is observed by the Kaibartas in the month of 'Chaitra' from the fool moon day to eight day of 'Vaisakha' in honour of their caste deity "Vasuli Devi'.
A horse-ridden man with the head of a horse well dressed and trunk built of bamboo, dances to the tune of 'Dhola' and 'Mahuri' accompanied by songs composed by the local poets. The dancing party consists of two dancers, one male and one female, a drummer and a piper.
The Kaibarta song of Achutananda Das, (one of the poets of "Pancha Sakha" group flourished in the 16th century) is believed to be only religious text of the Kaibartas. The origin of this dance goes back to the hoary past.
Dedicated To Goddess Vasuli
The Goddess Vasuli is held very high among the Kaibartas. Here it may be mentioned that the Goddess has a wide distribution in Orissa, but is considered to be the oldest in Puri where Raja of Puri provided land grants for regular worship of the deity. Vasuli in many places is taken to be one of the manifestations of the 'Durga' and one of sixty-four 'Yoginis'.
The horse dance is very popular and attracts a large audience. The performing group consists of three main characters- 'Rauta', 'Rautani' and the Horse dancer, besides the drummer and the piper. The songs recited in the performance consist of the episode from mythology. Rautani is Rauta's Co-dancer and Co-singer.