Vani’s Musings

Nammoorallina Kaamana Habba

Posted on: March 7, 2007

By Usha B R

River Arkavathi’s Banks containing white sand would be smeared with guLal and other colors…. …. Yes it was Holi, a holy day and a holiday for my school too.

Holi is a weeklong festival in our hometown. I really do not know how holi became such a grand festival celebrated in our small town. I am talking about the celebrations existed about 20 years back It is still fresh in my mind.

In January as soon as Sankranthi and YeLLu Bella distributions were through, natives of the town would start collecting the firewood and other wood articles and hide in their backyards. Does it sound funny? Yes, I am sure it does, but they had to do so to safeguard their articles…. As Holi was near…

Holi called as Kamana Habba in Karnataka, also called as HoLiya huNNime in some places. I am reminded of a very famous song sung by P KaLinga Rao:
“HoLiya huNNime bandhidhe..idhu bannada kaNNanu tandidhe… JeekuLi OkuLi bandidhe… idhu gokulada savinenapu tandidhe”.

Kamana habba would be celebrated in two phases .A gang of children and teens that are called Kamannana MakkaLu…KamaNNa’s children, would team up a week or fortnight earlier to study the town’s backyards and storage places of the houses where they would get abundant firewood. By the way this gang used to be headed by the enterprising and smart teenager and who would have entire data of the town and this team always used to work secretly and nobody knew how they would collect info.

Their khoofia operations would then attack the collections …. Be it clothes left in the back yard or the firewood .. they used to shout slogans (Kamannana MakkaLu…kaLLa soole MakkaLu.. enenu kaddaru.. soudhe samanu kaddaru… yellindha kaddaru… they would name the house where they flicked it from ) go on a procession after they flicked the articles from each house and deposit them in the place allocated for the fireworks.

All the girls would compete with each other for writing rangoli intrinsic geometric designs of India used for decorations in the front yard of the house or festivities. Rangoli would be drawn at the location after cleaning up the whole place… I used to be amazed with the amount of co-operation everyone shows at this time to decorate the place. These preparations would begin from late afternoon and thee fireworks location would be ready by evening.

Then the procession of boys disguised as “KamaNNa” and his wife “Rathi” would begin asking for help from each house and inviting them to participate for the events … Here my pen fails to express the kind of creativity of humor those boys used to display while talking to people of each house.

I remember one year, the “KamaNNa” and his wife “Rathi” set of in a scooter to meet everyone.. it was hilarious his story that year. He had married her recently , his father in law had gifted him a scooter as dowry. She had since become very demanding and that he is fed up with her torture and that all have to help him to get rid of her and get him a new wife whom he’s already selected.

At this, KamaNNa’s wife “Rathi” started crying and pleading all women to help her save her marriage and if he betrayed her she would ask Shiva to burn him 🙂 etc.

Disguises used to be marvelous and it used to be like a suspense thriller to guess the “Rathi”.

By night all would come back to the location of fireworks, KamaNNa’s pyre would be ready by then. After pooja performed by the priest “KamaNNa” and “his wife” Rathi” would go round the pyre and also chase each other, then the priest would go to rescue them.

They would end up trying to push the priest into the fire 🙂 and he would run for his life.

After these funny incidents, the priest would perform aarathi and once the priest was carried after mangaLarthi before lighting the pyre by one of the boy.

It was fun.

Once the pyre was lit, everyone clapped, danced and went round the fire and later the charpu was distributed. All of the youngsters that day would get to stay up late in the night near the fireworks ,we would continue fun watching hilarious performances and exchange instances which were amazing that day.

Next day, buckets would be filled with water and color ready in each house and kept in the front yard and the gang of Kamannana MakkaLu use to set out in the morning to play in colors and each house were supposed to participate.

Everyone splashed colors, water and dance the whole day in this town and this period the newly weds of the town would be the main targets and the butt of practical jokes; and that house had to supply Juice and fresh eatables to the gang as treat. By the late afternoon all used to assemble near Arkavathi’s banks to wash of their colors and return home …to get ready for the evening celebrations.

The Shetty angadi situated in the corner of our town Main Road –M G Road would have got emptied 2 days and completely clean and ready for arrangements of KamaNNana and other gods. Children of the town would decorate the dolls each day on various mythology topics and everyday upto 7 days the pooja rituals would go on along with the colorful programs.

Truly KaNNige habba, the KamaNNana habba was, and all of us used to eagerly wait for the next year… soon to arrive…. yes yes for “HOLI”


15 Responses to "Nammoorallina Kaamana Habba"

Great usha avrea. I was part of one such gang and complaints used to come to Mom!!

The importance of the kama dahana is about giving up ones desires. Metemorphically it symbolizes that one burns all his desires like that bonefire.


Usha, sakkat story!
I was surprised when I heard it in FM Channel that some people also steal the firelogs etc., & you are saying the same thing! 🙂

Our one festival will have so many stories attached , I remember reading about a lesson about Holika , hiranyakashipu’s sister getting burnt on this day & the Holi festival was attached to it.

Mohan, About burning desires.. post retirement pls 🙂

odhi sakkath maja banthu. we only put colors and enjoyed the holi habba. batte, soudhe kadhiyodhu ella node illa. but heard it from elders.
do keep sharing your wonderful experiences with us.
wishing all women a very HAPPY WOMAN’S DAY!

Your future is in your hands veena madam 🙂

thanks for thewishes… Hope you all enjoyed the story…as much as i enjoyed being part of it.

True Mohan Kama Dahana is all aobut buring our ego and desires.

Thanks RK for Womans Day wishes… everyday is our day 😀

Thanks Mohan and Bellur, please wish the women in your houses a very happy Woman’s day too…


great celebrations of HOLI or kamannana habba we also used to
celebrate this festival almost like the one you have mentioned
I have written about this in comment in RWB on HOli which is again reproduced below

comment is very big please read as addendum to post
as it also contains a report

I was thninking why no post on festival of colours HOLI
moment I opened blog today yes it is there. very good account of
festival of Holi in various parts of the country with background and
basis for the celebration.
Bellur as usual a very good post full of colours. Appreciate your efforts
and commitment to post them appropriately.

I can recall my days in Hospet where it is celebrated with lot of enthusiasm
and it is supposed to be a festival for boys. Three days of celebrations
culminating in KAMADAHANA on early hours of Pournima (kamana hunnime)
and followed by playing with coulours (okuliyata)
breif account of celebrations in north karnataka

on phanlguna shudda dwadashi evening statues of kama are installed in pendals and celebrations begin three nights of festivities with collection of kattige (fire wood) and berani (cowdung cake) for bonfire I.e.kamadahana.
In no. of places kama, kama with rathi etc., are worshipped
for 3 days and small children boys are decorated with various types of garlands made by womenfolk with sweets etc.,
ealier stealing of wood by boys was also a custom even during my younger days we have done this taking out the wood sticks used by bullock carts and storing them in safe place and puttting all heap on early hours of kamadahana day.
heap of wood and cowdung cakes are put on top either the statue (if it is not fit for use in next year) or a paper with a sketch of kama is placed and fire is lit. men and boys will go round the fire grieving for death of kama or kamanna
3 nights it is night out and mid night snacks and tea will be served and people will beat drums and go round the streets disturbing everybody’s sleep (now I think it is stopped)

colouring starts early in the morning and people will go out in streets with colours in drums from one area to another and play the Holi. ugly things like using paints oils etc., was also happening. This goes on till noon and then your return bacc home and take bath
if need be use tu;rpentine or kerosene to remove the paints oils if it is applied on you
and have good lunch (holige for hoykonda bai) and sleep. Old clothes are kept to be
used on the day of colouring.

I have lost this touch now after leaving hospet. Rangapachami as mentioned in post
is also a day on which holi is celebrated in parts of north karnataka and maharashtra
as name indicated it is coulour and colour. So festivities in some places goen on from
hunnime to panchami.

After the festival one night there use to be a communityn feast. Ofcourse there used to
Be collection for this from houses for the festival and there used to be competition
Between localities to celebrated with more fervour.

Reallly I went back to my childhood days thanks for the post and I could remember
the day of holi or known kamana habba. Even there is practice in some households
to to kamadahana in their house on early hours of Pournima in front of their house
Symbolising death of kama

when the pyre used to be in peak some identified wooden gates used to lifted by some groups and thrown to the fire and
owner of house if he there will be a mute spectator. apart from stealing wood some michievous boys will also extend to
picking tender coconuts fruits from garden etc.,
in toto it was a grand gala time for boys all theie actions were taken in good spirit

pranesh sir,
after reading your comment, i thought there were so many things common to yours and usha’s childhood experiences!
thanks for sharing.

Pranesh avaru ontara multi generation (multi faceted tara) belonging personality.. ellara child hood share maadthaare.. I really admire the enthusiasm he carries everywhere. He has infected that one to his family members also !

thanks veena for lovely words. yes I like people
I like people who talk who talk with lot of committment
love affection. like is like that we must share our
joy sorrow and life goes on and on
I was very much touched by the affection the entire team
is whoering on me and my family
Hello Nice Person the poem you posted after visiting us
on last saturday was simply superb where you got it
I felt some one of you have penned it.
thanks thankd and a big thank you to one and all

kaamana habbada bagge bahaLa cennAgi nirUpisiddIri. iMteyE iddare habba tanu manavannu taNisuvudu. svalpa bigaDAyisidare Aguvudu.

gurudEva dayaa karo deena jane

Namaskaara Usha avare,

Infact, nim ee URL nanage Google nalli “Kaamana Habba” antha search kotta mele siktu. It was only your URL that appears in search which explains what Kaamana Habba is.

Well, I too love playing gulaal. This year also I played. There is a lane in Cottonpete, Bengaluru by name “Kaamana Gudi lane”. The lane has got 80 to 90 years history. The people in that lane celebrate Holi in traditional way as you said. This is not seen in many parts of the city today. Childern and teenagers play holi but don’t know the mythology/reason/philosophy behind the celebration. I’m really impressed with your work.

I like to add few more lines and tell you the link between Holi and Ugaadi. As you said the Kaamanna is burt a day before Holi day.
Then his wife Rathi begs Lord Shiva to give back her husband Kaamanna / Manmatha. Then on Ugaadi Day Shiva fullfils her wish by giving re-birth to Kaamanna. On Ugaadi kids and teenagers draw Kaamanna at the place where they had burt him. Kammanna will be so colourfull that you just can’t imagine. One should enjoy that sight.

Ugaadi is new year to us. We see new leaves and flowers in trees and plants. After Winter the dried leaves get burnt and as spring arrives new tender leaves and flowers sprout out in trees. We see changes in the nature. Hence we celebrate Ugaadi as NEW YEAR.

Others please do share your experience and thoughts.
My mail id:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: