Utti-kottadam celebration (It is called Dahi Handi in the North and Uriyaadi or Utti panduga in South India) is is an ancient Indian tradition to celebrate the Birth day of Lord Krishna. It is avidly played all over India. Utla Panduga or Sikyotsavam also finds mention in Narayana Teertha’s Krishnaleela Tarangini
There is a close parallel in the Pinata celebration, that is prevalent in Northern America. Strangely the word Pinata in Telugu means Kid’s play or children’s game.
Here is a funny Pinata video clip from YouTube
Have you heard the song Govinda Aalaare, by Mohd Rafi ? It is a song from the 1963 hit movie ‘Bluff Master’ starring Shammi Kapoor, depicting the celebration
Here is a video clip of this song from YouTube:
There is another such song in another Hindi movie, ‘Yeh tera ghar yeh mera ghar,’ featuring Nagma, Sunil Shetty and Mahima Chaudhry
Here is a YouTube video clip of a competetive uriyadi celebration on the happy occasion of Onam in Kerala, at the CET, cheemeni
In one of his memorable lyrics Annamayya paints a vivid portrayal of the Utla Panduga. He describes the teen-ager Krishna running around in the city, on the festival day, breaking the earthen pots full of milk and butter hung high above in the sky, or hitting the golden vessels hung in a similar fashion, with his hands or legs or sticks and overturning them and spilling the goodies kept in them, to the amazement and admiration of the people.
Here is my attempt at translation of this beautiful lyric of the fifteenth century about the festival celebrated avidly all over India to this day.
Again and again, in the course of the, hit-the-milk-pot-in-the-rope-sling (Utla) festival,
As milk and yoghurt spilled making characteristic noises,
as Krishna kicked and broke the ropes of the Utties (Pinatas)
hung high above in the streets of the city,
there were big sounds of,
” Pellu, katthillu, petthillu, chitthill ”
as he jumped high, faced them and hit the golden vessels hard, there were
exceedingly mellifluous sounds of, “Kangu, kallingu, katthingu, khanning”
as the Lord of the Venkata Hills, thus splendidly hit lots of hanging pots of milk,breaking them, exquisitely delicious. nectars, rained continuously down.
Palumaru vutlaa panduganoo
voolla veedhula vutlu krishnudu
taallu tegi pada tannaganoo
pellu, kathillu, petthillu, chitthillani
pelluga mroasae penu ravamoo,
bangaru bindela paalu peruguloo
kangu, kallingu, katthingu, khannigani
rangu meeru penu ravamulai
Nigguga Venkata-nilayud-utti paal-
-aggalika pagula aduva ganu
baggu, bagillani parama-amrutam-ulu
guggili padanuga-guriyaganoo. (vol 5- 57)
This lyric is set to music in Mukhaari ragam by Sri Nedunuri.
You can find a rendering of the song on veena at the following URL