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Part 3 - The Palis

The yakadura calls on the Palis to arrive one by one. Neither evil or benign, their role is to bring with them the ritual object they are named after.


The origins and uses of the ritual objects are told in song by the yakadura and in conversation with the pali. After this respectul start, the audience laugh as the clever yakadura makes the palis look silly and foolish.

Anguru Dummala Pali


This pali brings dummala. Flames made by throwing it over the torch scare demons and purify everything nearby

Salu Pali


Carries the long white cloth used in other parts of the ritual.

Tambili Pali


Tambili is the King Coconut seen at the patient's feet.

Samayama scares demons away, accepts a cock as substitute

Pandam Pali flames the torches

After praying at the altar (right of main picture) to the demon king Ishwara, a servant is sent the demons are afraid of. This is Samayama.


Samayama performs the Double Torch dance, shouting and flaming the torches to scare the demons and make them leave.


A cock is a common feature at these ceremonies. Although demons prefer humans, they can be persuaded to accept a cock as a substiute as they are also creatures walking on two legs. He takes a cock and 'eats' it, also placing it on the patients head to draw out pollution. By doing this he accepts the cock as a substitute for the patient.


Dishtiya scaring away demons


The second dishtiya

Pumpkin cutting on Yakadura in death pose

With the major demons gone, the yakadura enters a state of dishtiya once again to search out any last remaining bad influences and get rid of them. The spirit possesing him energetically dances and chants, filling the room with dummala smoke before ordering the spirits to take the now polluted cock.




Mandadpawilla  Now the chief yakadura lays on a mat underneath a cloth, as if dead. The cock has been offered to the demons, now it is placed at his feet. A pumpkin is placed on the yakadura's chest to draw out evil. The patient cuts the pumpkin with the sword thus destroying the evil.


The main part of the ceremony is over - the demons and evil influences have been banished.


Now the patient, family and household must be purified and protected from further harm in the final rituals that take place before dawn.

Kendi Pali


Appears as an old man carrying a pot of water used for purifying and bringing the excorcists out of trance.



The patient laughs at the pali

Part 4 - Protections



Palis bring the ritual objects